By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Fallen warriors were honored during a special ceremony held on Memorial Day at the Yellowhill Veterans Memorial Park in Cherokee. Hosted by the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143, the event had the theme of “Honoring our Fallen Heroes”.
The ceremony culminated with the laying of a wreath at the grave of Steve Youngdeer, a U.S. Army veteran who died in World War I, by decorated veteran and former Principal Chief Robert S. Youngdeer.
“Today, we are here to honor the fallen,” said Lew Harding, Post 143 Commander. “Our brave American soldiers have placed their lives on the line for a society that was not always appreciative of their sacrifices.”
He said it is important for the country to not lose its moral compass and to be able to work together as that is the foundation of democracy. “The world and all of its cultures must learn to live together or we might die together.”
Commander Harding said the sacrifices of all veterans must not be in vain. “Heroes are not always extraordinary people. Oftentimes, they are ordinary people who do extraordinary things.”
Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell gave the Memorial Day Prayer and his wife and fellow veteran, Phyllis Shell, gave a special musical presentation honoring veterans.
The event’s keynote speaker was Ray Kinsland, former general manager of the Cherokee Boys Club, who gave a brief history of Memorial Day. He told the crowd that Memorial Day began as Decoration Day and in 1971, Congress decreed Memorial Day as a national holiday.
“Only two people ever died for us,” said Kinsland. “Jesus Christ and the U.S. Soldier. Jesus Christ died to save our souls. Soldiers died to save our freedoms.”
He went on to say, “Today, we hear many people demanding their rights and privileges, but what about their duties and responsibilities? Without duties and responsibilities, there would be no rights and privileges.”
The EBCI Roll of Honor, those tribal members who gave their lives in battle, was read by Legionnaire Tam Cooper, and the Ringing of the Bell was performed by Phyllis Shell.
The Roll of Honor includes:
World War I – Steve Youngdeer, US Army; Joe Kalonaheskie, US Army
World War II – Boyd Catt, US Army; Jacob Cornsilk, US Army; Adam West Driver, US Marine Corps; James R. Lambert, US Army; Samuel William Otter, US Navy; Blaine Queen, US Army; Mark Rattler, US Marine Corps; Isaac Ross, US Army; Joshua Shell, US Army; Sheridan Smith, US Marine Corps; Vernon George Sneed, US Army; William Taylor, US Navy; Enos Thompson, US Army; Jeremiah Toineeta, US Army; Robert Austin Wahneeta, US Marine Corps
Korea – Charles Arch, US Marine Corps; Charles George, US Army, Medal of Honor recipient
Vietnam – John Burgess, US Army; John Edward Oocumma, US Army
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