Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day 2020

Each year on or about the 11th, I try to write something appropriate about Veterans Day.

In the past, over the last 10 years or so, I have explained the origins and the importance of Veterans Day or tried to write some interesting details or facts. You can find those posts elsewhere on this site.

This year I am taking a slightly different approach. Do you know what group of Americans serve our country the most? The Irish? the Italians? African Americans? No, it is none of these. It is Native Americans.

November is also Native American Heritage Month, so this seems especially timely.

I have written previously about the Native American Memorial in Neillsville, Wisconsin. You can find that one by clicking on Wisconsin on the left side of this page and scrolling back a bit, it is exquisite.

And today, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. a long planned and awaited memorial is being dedicated. Finally.

The National Native American Veterans Memorial is quite a beautiful thing.

I went down a few days ago to try to see it and found it completely shrouded from view by completely covered chain link fence. One of the great things about shrouded chain link fence is that there is always a hole.

In fact this time there were two. One large enough for me to get inside the area, but still not right up on it. And, I did try to explain to the guy inside what I was doing, he made it clear I had to leave. Not until I got a couple of shots, however.

The large circle, which signifies the cycle of life and death and the continuity of all things, sits upon a stylized drum and there are four war lances at the compass points. The elements of air, water, fire, and earth are all incorporated into the design, as they are woven into Native culture.

The war lances are adorned with eagle feathers and prayer ties. If you look closely you can see a prayer tie low on the lance. A prayer tie may be added by anyone who wishes. It is said that every time the wind blows, the prayer is sent to heaven, once again.

Eagle feathers

So, just after learning that this one was to be dedicated today, at 11:00am, I read that Riverside, California VA Cemetery has just broken ground for another. It is said to be completed in a couple of years. The artist rendition that I saw is spectacular.

The creator of this memorial originally was not going to even enter an idea but was convinced by friends to do so. The memorial itself is universal, meant to honor all: its creator, Harvey Pratt, is a USMC Vietnam vet.

Our original citizens are finally getting a little bit of their due: they have fought beside us in every war in which we have been involved.

To learn much more about this major new memorial check out this site from the Smithsonian:

Next time, on the 16th, we will check out Hawai'i, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state in the union, please click on a state name on the left side of this page.

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