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Shangri La honors fallen soldiers with Memorial Day ceremony


Last updated 5/19/2012 at Noon

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center will host a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 28. Those wishing to attend the ceremony will be given free entry starting at 2:00 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 2:45 p.m. To explore the Gardens either before or after the event, an admission ticket must be purchased. Visitors are encouraged to bring folding chairs for seating during the ceremony. Shangri La will be open throughout Memorial Day from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for visitors of all ages.

The program will start with a welcoming speech from Michael Hoke, Director of Shangri La, followed by the recognition of veterans. Glen Dutton will make a short presentation and deliver a Memorial Day prayer. Dutton is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force and has served at the Southeast Texas Veterans Service Group for 13 years.

During the program, Robert and Michelle Hoke, son and daughter-in-law of Michael Hoke, will sing the National Anthem and patriotic songs. Robert Hoke is currently a law student at Louisiana State University, where he was a member of the cappella choir for three years. Michelle is currently a teacher at Baptist Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has sung the National Anthem at several sporting events and high-capacity venues, as well as other venues for non-profit organizations.

The ceremony will conclude with a ringing of the Great Bell at Shangri La, one minute of silence in remembrance of those who gave their lives for their country and TAPS played by Rebecca Kent. Kent is a graduate of Lamar University and has performed at numerous Memorial Day ceremonies.

"As we reflect on the sacrifice members of our military have made, the serenity of the gardens provides a place of solace for all to honor the ultimate commitment our military men and women have made for our country. All are invited to honor our fallen soldiers at Shangri La on Memorial Day," said Shangri La Director, Michael Hoke.

Located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Shangri La is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 670-9113 or visit


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