Flags posted for Memorial Day at Bradley Indian Cementery, Bradley, Michigan
Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have lost their lives in service to the United States of America. Since the Revolutionary War and continuing until today, American Indians have a long history of being warriors and fighting on behalf of the United States.
“This Memorial Day, we encourage you to honor the men and women who fought and died for our freedoms,” said U.S. Navy veteran and Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden speaking about the Cherokee Nation’s Memorial Day honoring event.
“Their sacrifices and their commitment should be honored with absolute respect and admiration. It is only proper that our Cherokee warriors hold an esteemed place in our tribe and within our families.”
Beyond an extended weekend to spend with family and friends, today, we honor American Indians and non-Indians who have fought to protect the United States of America.
While history has not always highlighted American Indian involvement in the US military, the presence has been there. Last June, a book, “American Indians and the Civil War” was released highlighting how American Indians fought and died during the Civil War.
During World War II, American Indian code talkers, Choctaw and Navajo, contributed to the victory of the Allied Forces. Over the past decade, their contributions have finally received accolades for their tremendous contributions.
Even in the most recent wars, American Indians continue to serve. As of May 2013, 73 American Indians/Alaskan Natives service members have died or been wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) / Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation New Dawn (Iraq) actions.