Veterans are the strength of the <br>community

Please allow me to take this opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of our Navajo Veterans. On Saturday, November 11, 2000, the nation celebrated Veterans Day 2000..

I am a veteran myself, having served in the US Army from 1969 to 1970 in Vietnam. As individuals and as veterans, we each have our own stories that speak of our life experience in the Armed Services. Oftentimes, I feel that no matter how many times I tell a story, the true meaning of what I experienced in the Army can never be fully expressed, In that, we share a common background and a general experience that may not have been quite so humble. Our stories will become tales, and this is how our families know us and remember us. These stories make us who we are: We are proud to have served this country. We have given truly of ourselves— and for others, they have given their lives.

It is great to share these stories with others. By sharing these stories, I have been able to adjust to what is commonly referred to as civilian life. I did not join the Army for my reasons alone. Whether we had acknowledged it or not, many of us chose to serve because we would be helping our grandmothers, our families, and our people. This commitment was not selfish, and today, we should maintain that commitment to our communities.

During my inaugural address in January of 1999, I called upon all Navajo Veterans to use their skills and leadership to strengthen themselves, their families for their communities. Let me reaffirm my position that as a Navajo Veteran, you have the responsibility to continue to restore the vitality of our nation; that your involvement in the strengthening of your community is paramount. As we move forth, we continue to rely on your strength as a Navajo Veteran. We continue to rely on your leadership to protect the best interests of our elderly and our children.

Once again, we call upon your leadership and your abilities to combat our nation’s community and social problems with the same confidence and assertiveness you displayed in entering the Armed Forces. You are a role model for our youth, the protector of your communities and the essence of courage and integrity.

On behalf of the Begaye/ McKenzie Administration, I wish to extend my gratitude and thanks to each Navajo Veteran and their families for their commitment and dedication. Your service and your allegiance are commendable. You have made us proud as Americans, but most importantly, as Navajo people. Thank you for giving yourself to protect our freedom.

To those serving in the Armed Forces, your contribution to the safety, protection and livelihood of our nation is immeasurable, and greatly acknowledged.

By Kelsey Begaye

President of the Navajo Nation

Veterans Day 2000

The sorrowful taps drifts on the November breeze at Arlington National Cemetery, the tomb of the unknown,

As the chubby face bugle boy made his sound,

It was hard for some of the old warriors to hold back their tears, the sad memories of our nations’ wars of the long past years,

The ceremony was an emotional Veterans Day Commemoration,

Standing at attention while the sounds of the 21 guns salute went off were Veterans from all walks of life and of different ethnic and generations.,

Grayer and softer now than when they were on active duty,

but standing just as proud as back then in honor of their fallen comrades,

For they know that the ultimate price of freedom was paid for by the lives of these brave warrior of long ago.

Some where in the distant hills, the spiritual sounds of an Indian eagle—bone Whistle could be heard,

Truly this great country of ours is God’s chosen land,

From sea to shining sea, to our four sacred mountains.

God shed his grace on thee.

Let’s all remember in our thoughts, prayers, and songs these warriors of the past, present, and future on this special.

Happy Veterans Day, Comrades!

By Tony Bigman

Shonto, Arizona

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