Tulsa's Floral Haven Honors Vets With 'Changing Of The Guard' Reenactment

Saturday, May 26th 2012, 9:31 pm
By: News On 6

One Tulsa cemetery is honoring U.S. fighting men and women with a reenactment of the famous "Changing of the Guard."

It's the only one you'll see here in the Sooner State.

After months of training, members of Oklahoma's Civil Air Patrol are putting on a special ceremony.

"Soldiers don't die until they're forgotten," one of them said. "Tomb guards never forget."

At Floral Haven Cemetery, they're reenacting the "Changing of the Guard," which happens at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Every half hour during the day and every hour at night, they switch tomb guards, just like it's done in Arlington, Virginia.

And that is something veterans do not take lightly.

"It really brings a lot of honor to me because being a vet myself, I know the importance of what these young men do, and I respect them greatly for what they do and the sacrifices that they do," veteran Sean Bryant said.

Everywhere you look at Floral Haven, you'll see Old Glory flying high.

For the past 40 years, family members have brought their loved one's casket flags to the cemetery for Memorial Day Weekend.

"It's amazing," Karen Gulley said. "It's just amazing. Each time I come out here and see all of these flags because of seeing what my father did, you know served our country."

Gulley's father is a World War II vet and a Prisoner of War.

"There was one friend of his that kept him alive by making sure he had food every day, otherwise, he would have never made it, so this means a lot to me," Gulley said.

On a weekend that's often celebrated by barbecuing or relaxing by the pool, those who are close to veterans say we need to remember the reason why the holiday even exists.

"It's about taking a minute to think about those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause in which they were fighting and the flag under which they were fighting," said Stephen Moeller, Floral Haven Director of Community Relations. "It's a uniquely American holiday."

The Civil Air Patrol will continue their reenactment until Monday afternoon.

Floral Haven will also take part in the national moment of remembrance on Monday before retiring the colors at 5 p.m.