Oklahoma organization pays tribute to veterans by installing flag poles
Three veterans received a flagpole installation at their homes from the local chapter of the Oklahoma Nonprofit Association Honoring Our Veterans on Saturday, August 21, 2021 (Flagpoles Honoring Our Veterans North West Chapter Facebook)
ENID, Oklahoma (Tribune News Service) – Enid resident Matt Sabin choked a bit as he spoke about what the American flag means to him on Saturday.
Sabin, who served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, was one of three veterans who received a flagpole installation Saturday at his home from the local chapter of the nonprofit association of the ‘Oklahoma.
“It means a lot,” he said.
The nonprofit’s northwest chapter began in March to honor veterans in the region by installing free flag poles for them, chapter president Cale Grauberger said.
Since then, the chapter has installed 15 flag poles, including Saturday’s three.
The first stop was at Donald Shearmire’s. The retired army veteran said he felt a lot of emotions watching the group of about 10 Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association members and other volunteers set up their flagpole.
Veterans first innovated on the hole for each flag pole. Then, once the pole was sunk into the ground, they hoisted the flag as a crowd took the pledge of allegiance.
“I had no idea there was something like this out there,” Shearmire said. “(The flag) means a lot to me in terms of my service, the sacrifices of my fellow soldiers, all who have served and all who represent the military – whatever everyone does.”
Glenn Watt, a Navy veteran and CVMA member from Oklahoma City, visited all three houses to help the section install the flag poles. The group split into smaller groups to assemble the posts, dig the hole and mix the concrete.
During his third installation on Saturday, Watt said he still enjoys seeing the faces of veterans as they hoist the flag.
“It’s a real pride, and I had a great time every time I did it,” he said. “I think it’s a great service what these guys are doing.”
The military is a “big family,” said Vice President Roy Powell, who said his 12 years in the military was the reason he wanted to put up flag poles for veterans.
“It’s a brotherhood,” said Powell. “We probably don’t know each other, but we’re a big family.”
Phil Lanier, a Navy veteran who served from 1984 to 2002, visited his first flagpole installation on Saturday after being invited to participate by a colleague.
Lanier, who lives in Enid, said the installation of flag poles for veterans was important because it paid tribute to those who served in the military.
“I think that’s what the country needs right now,” Lanier said. “You are just building this brotherly / brotherly bond that we all have – that we’ve all served, so it’s kind of an unwritten bond.”
The third veteran who received a flagpole on Saturday was Paul Powell, who served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1988. Powell said in a Facebook Live video that the flagpole would remind him of his days of service.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate (the installation of the flagpole),” said Paul Powell in the video.
All the flags that the Northwest Chapter gives to veterans are taken to Vance Air Force Base and carried aboard a US Air Force T-38C Talon over Enid, and each veteran receives a certificate showing the date of the flight, the tail of the aircraft number and the take-off and landing times.
For veterans in nursing homes, Grauberger said the Northwest Section would provide them with wooden flags instead.
Grauberger said “no veteran will be forgotten” and “no place is too far” for the chapter to set up flag poles for veterans.
“Please nominate veterans,” he said. “We have this whole part of Oklahoma.… If there’s someone in Beaver, Oklahoma, or Guymon, name them. Let’s give them a mast.”
To nominate a veteran, email the chapter at [email protected]
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