On the 11th of November, we shall have a Veterans Day and so I wish to say a few words about a soldier, who I feel should always be honored on such a day. This soldier is Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, a member of the 507th Transportation Company.
I was on a plane going to Phoenix and noticed in the New York Times that a female Hopi soldier was MIA in Iraq. When it came time to attend a committee session in Phoenix to change the name of Squaw Peak to Piestewa Peak, I put on my class A and supported the name change. I was disappointed that no one from the Hopi tribal government attended the meeting. While the status of this soldier was MIA, I would visit the parents in Tuba City and would join them in a prayer circle. Then when I received a copy of the official military report on the combat action in which she was seriously wounded and later died, I became convinced that her actions on that day deserved to be recognized. She was offered to join the command group but decided to remain with her group and therefore sealed her fate. This action of hers need to be recognized.
Those of us, who have experienced combat rarely talk about it but try to remain in the shadows because those who have not had a similar experience will simply not understand. But, we do recognize courage when we see it.
The bottom line is that on every Veterans Day, we need to recognize Pfc. Piestewa and that is what I would recommend.
Chaplain (Col.) Caleb Johnson
US Army, Retired