ASHEBORO – This year’s Montagnard Memorial Event “Dega Days” kicks off at the New Central Highlands near Asheboro on Saturday, Sept. 22 with an Opening Flag Ceremony presented by the American Legion, Steve Youngdeer Post 143 Color Guard.
So why would an American Indian Organization conduct the opening ceremony? The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has recognized the Montagnards as the newest warrior tribe in association with the American Indians.
In effect, the Montagnards were a primitive culture virtually living in the Stone Age when they engaged in their partnership with the US Army Special Forces in the war against communist aggression in Vietnam in the early 1960s.
During the drawdown of the war effort the Special Forces were ordered to abandon their partnership and sever their ties with the Montagnards to expedite the war’s end. Due to the Montagnard’s loyalty to the American Special Forces, the new government of Vietnam forced them out of the Central Highlands and into “Re-education Camps on the Cambodian and Laotian borders for the purpose of extermination and genocide.
Since 1975 more than seven and a half million Montagnards have been eliminated in these camps run by the Vietnamese government.
A handful of retired, former and active duty SF men then set out to rescue the Montagnards and help them relocate in the United States.
The Montagnards have re-established their culture in their newly adopted homeland…what they call the “New Central Highlands of North Carolina.”
Since the Montagnards have gained US citizenship and have established their homeland in North Carolina, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who also served in Vietnam, have decided to welcome and recognized the Montagnards as the newest tribe in Native American Warrior Culture.
In essence then, one of the oldest native cultures in America is officially recognizing the Montagnards as having established roots in America.
This achievement will be signified during the “Presenting of the Colors” by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, American Legion Steve Youngdeer Post 143 Color Guard at the “Dega Days Celebration.”
Lunch will be served at 1pm or 1300 military time and entertainment will be provided throughout the afternoon. Plan to arrive early for good parking.
A follow on event will be held from Oct. 4-8 in conjunction with the presentation of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in a “Chiefs Meet Chiefs” celebration at the Annual Cherokee Tribal Council Gathering at the Acquoni Expo Center.
This is part of the “Trails of Legends and Adventure” program together with the 100th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair.
Info: Warren Dupree, Post Service Officer 508-2657, www.VisitCherokeeNC.com or email@example.com
– Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143