I recently read a most gratifying and informative article regarding the military service of Native American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the U. S. Armed Forces.
Then I happened upon the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian which recently broke ground on the National Native American Veterans Memorial, to be dedicated on Nov. 11, 2020, Veteran’s Day, in a public ceremony.
I was reminded of a 2002 movie based on a true story, entitled the “Code Talker” which describes just one of the many ways Native Americans contributed to the war effort by saving the lives of a countless marines. In the words of Kevin Grover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian, “Throughout history, Native Americans have answered the call to serve in our armed forces. This memorial will remind everyone who visits it of the service and patriotism of Native veterans and their families.”
The memorial was commissioned by Congress to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.”
This country’s social diversity is the single most significant element that has made America the greatest and most powerful nation on the planet, with all backgrounds, creeds and nationalities having made exceptional contributions to the cause of freedom and democracy.
Whether in education, the arts, sciences, commerce, industry, agriculture or the military, America could not have made our impact in every corner of the world, without the congress of all segments of our population. America is much like a symphony orchestra, consisting of diverse musical instruments, which are tuned and played together, and directed by a single tonic thought…that is, the notion that all men, all people…are created equal.
And when the song of freedom rings out, we are capable of producing beautiful sounds heard into the far reaches of the planet.
Only the balance composed by our diversity can right the cacophony of some discordant strains among us, but this balance has righted itself before in the course of our history, and it will do so again.
The beautiful memorial to the Native American soldier who has died on the world’s many battlefields throughout U. S. military history is a just and much deserved tribute, long overdue. Native Americans have executed with unequaled excellence their part of the symphonic score that, along with all the other sections of the ensemble make an everlasting impact on all of us. They have indeed helped our hallowed song to ring down the halls of history.
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