May 26, 2011 - Jazz Depot hosts Memorial Day tribute concert for WWII veterans Read more from this Tulsa World
J.R. Proctor served in the U.S. Army under famed General George S. Patton.
That was during World War II, when he was one among approximately 16 million men and women who served during the war, said Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa - J.R. Proctor's grandson.
"He raised me," said the younger Proctor, who honors his grandfather and other veterans as coordinator of Oklahoma Honor Flights, an initiative that helps transport Oklahoma veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit World War II memorials.
"It really means a lot to them," Proctor said. "A lot of these guys have never had a big thank you, a big celebration to honor their service."
Helping celebrate, as well as send more vets to D.C. in order to see the memorials dedicated to their service, will be the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame's Memorial Day tribute concert 5 p.m. Sunday at the Jazz Hall, 111 E. First St.
"We're putting on a whop-bam-boom show," said Chuck Cissel, artistic director of the Jazz Hall.
Local musicians will perform war-era standards, he said. Among those entertaining will be veterans, like pianists Joe Wilkinson and Chuck Gardner, who will also perform with his wife, Sandy.
They and other talents, like Pam Crosby, will sing familiar tunes like "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Sentimental Journey" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," Cissel said. Of course, being a Memorial Day concert, expect to hear songs such as "America the Beautiful" and "White Cliffs of Dover," too.
"It's a way to say we thank you, we're grateful, and we stand beside you and support you," Cissel said.
With each day, though, there are fewer vets to thank.
"We're losing about 1,500 a day," Proctor said of the 2.5 million World War II veterans still alive. On June 8, he's taking 105 local veterans on an Honor Flight to D.C.
"It's just a wonderful program and an opportunity for us to honor our World War II vets and give them a chance to see their memorial," said Proctor, who hopes to take even more vets on more Honor Flights.
All World War II vets may receive a free ticket to the Sunday concert by calling 918-281-8609.
Otherwise, tickets are $15 for general admission and $20 for table seating.
For more, call the Jazz Hall, 918-281-8600.
To donate to Oklahoma Honor Flights, visit tulsaworld.com/honorflights