There are several ways to honor veterans as the day approaches: placing roses on grave sites, donating and volunteering at veterans organizations, participating in next Monday’s parade.
But there is one Claremore church that honors veterans year-round with a memorial adorned with the faces, names and memories of loved ones who wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their lives.
New Life Baptist Church set up a table in their sanctuary on Memorial Day almost 10 years ago and encouraged parishioners to bring tokens of their parents, spouses, and children.
New Life Pastor Ronnie Harris and Music Director Hubert Rouse showed off the corner the sanctuary flushed with red, white and blue.
“We want to recognize the sacrifices of people and what they have done for our country,” Harris said.
“A lot of these are local,” Rouse said, nodding to the images of mean and women in uniform.
“Most of them are members’ kids or grandparents. Some of them are members, now,” Harris said. “We’ve had a lot of new people join the church and they’ll bring stuff too, and add to it.”
Among the photos are newspaper clippings, words of wisdom and stories the men and women honored there.
For those without a picture to bring, the church made cards, each labeled with an american war, where families could write down the names of their military service members.
Some of the faces on the table are active duty.
A floral cross stands beside it, decorated by the hands of the congregation.
“What’s been interesting, like on our 5th Sunday Sings, special services and funerals, people gravitate to this thing and spend a lot of time looking at it,” Rouse said.
A member of the congregation knitted a blanket that lays on the table.
Rouse’s father, twin brother and father-in-law are each honored there.
For a while, the table held the photo of a man who was killed on active duty in WWII.
“We look at it as a way to honor those that have served our country, those who are alive and those who passed on,” Rouse said.
Harris said that the memorial is not only meaningful to the families who need a way to remember, but also to the veterans who know by seeing it that their actions for this country are remembered too.
The church is open every Sunday morning to people who want to view the work of art, add to it, or just visit and experience the love of God. The public is also invited to call ahead and stop by.