Battle of the Bulge veteran to serve as Grand Marshal
Claremore resident Larry Filkins will serve as Grand Marshal of the 8th annual Claremore Veterans Day Parade on Monday.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 11:11 a.m. at Claremore Expo Center and travel west on Will Rogers Boulevard through downtown, ending at the First Baptist Church parking lot.
Filkins was an Army Combat Medic in northern Europe during World War II. He was involved in action in France, Belgium and Germany. His unit was part of the American forces in the famous “Battle of the Bulge.”
The battles took place from Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 25, 1945. For his courage on the battlefield and caring for the wounded, Filkins received recognition from the US Army and later this year will be receiving a medal from France.
After Filkins completed his military service, he was a singer with big bands in the New York area and managed radio stations in Kansas and Colorado. In 1975, he came to Claremore to teach broadcasting at Rogers State University.
He was instrumental in getting the college radio station, KRSC, and television station, KRSU, approved by the Federal Communications Commission, licensed and on the air. Filkins retired from RSU in 1993.
“We are honored that Larry would be our grand marshal,” said Ryan Payne of Musgrove-Merritt-Smith-Payne Funeral Service and Crematory. “What an outstanding service record he has. And after his return to public life, he continued to give as an employee of RSU.”
Musgrove-Merritt-Smith-Payne is sponsor of the parade.
Over 65 entries have registered to participate. Bands, radio and television personalities, floats, the Rogers State University coaching staffs and the Route 66 Cruisers will be featured in the parade. Claremore Walmart employees will begin the parade by handing out American flags along the route.
Following the parade at 12:30 p.m., the Claremore and Inola High School Jr. ROTC cadets will hold the annual flag retirement ceremony at the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum.
“We’ve received over 1,000 flags this year to be properly retired,” said Frank Friedemann of Musgrove-Merritt-Smith-Payne Funeral Service.
Filkins, as well as Mayor Mickey Perry, City Manager Jim Thomas, State Sen. Sean Burrage and State Rep. Marty Quinn, will speak at the flag retirement ceremony.