A grateful nation remembers the contribution of its veterans<br><br>

Nearly 59 years after the end of World War II, the National World War II Memorial will be dedicated in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 29.

The Memorial Day weekend celebration on the National Mall will culminate an 11-year effort to honor America’s World War II generation. Congress authorized the memorial in 1993. Construction began in September 2001 after several years of fund-raising and public hearings.

On Saturday, May 29th, 2004 - Memorial Day Weekend the community of Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University will host a National Dedication Day observance to honor the World War II generation, all veteran’s, the U.S. military and their families.

The Flagstaff Native American Community will host several events beginning Thursday evening May 27 with a Special Edition of the KTNN “Drums of Summer” program. A traditional Pow Wow on Friday, May 28 and a contest Pow Wow will be held on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30, featuring the Host Southern Drum – Cozad Singers from Anadarko, Okla. and the Host Northern Drum – Stoney Park traveling from Alberta, Canada.

Arizona’s tribes and communities are encouraged to participate in the Welcome Home Parade and are invited to prepare exhibits for the NAU Skydome Community Exposition, both on Saturday. Plan now to participate in this very special time to remember our loved ones and celebrate the freedom, which we all have inherited from the sacrifices of so many.

Many of the vivid images that we have of World War II are directly related to Arizona… the sinking of the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor, native language code talker’s and the raising of the American Flag on Iwo Jima, assisted by Pima Indian Ira Hayes are representative of the great sacrifices and significant contributions of the Grand Canyon State.

From desert air bases, to the brave “Bushmasters,” to the building of Navajo Army Depot, Arizona’s war efforts are immense and their stories are an American treasure.

World War II brought many changes for Arizona’s native peoples. National Dedication Day will be a great opportunity to respect, reflect and honor the traditions, which provided the brave warriors who served during WWII and continue to serve today in the War on Terrorism.

It will be an exciting day of remembrance, a time to renew friendships and finally provide a once in a life time opportunity to extend your appreciation to the “greatest generation.”

As we assemble to give thanks, we can know that this will be one of the most meaningful days of our lives—one that meant so much for a fellow American.

Begin planning now, to tell the story of your community, your grandparents, your family and friends and what they did to ensure our future and preserve freedom in a dangerous world.

Together we will share their lives and cry and remember the great losses and great achievements, which have so shaped our society and the world we know.

Please respectfully accept this invitation to duty, participate and readily advance this responsibility to honor our finest citizens on National Dedication Day.

For event information and coordination of your involvement, please call me at 928-853-4145.

(John Davison is Community Coordinator for the National Dedication Day Observance in Flagstaff.)

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