Published On: Mon, May 26th, 2014

Memorial Day ceremony held in Cherokee  

Maj. Bill Underwood (left) and Col. Bob Blankenship salute after the laying of the wreath at the Yellowhill Veterans Cemetery at the Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 26.   (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

Maj. Bill Underwood (left) and Col. Bob Blankenship salute after the laying of the wreath at the Yellowhill Veterans Cemetery at the Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 26. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

Those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country were honored during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Yellowhill Veterans Cemetery on Monday, May 26.  The event was hosted by the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143.

 Chavella Bailey (left) reads the names of EBCI tribal members killed in combat as Ernest Panther rings the bell.


Chavella Bailey (left) reads the names of EBCI tribal members killed in combat as Ernest Panther rings the bell.

“Today, we honor those who have fallen and given their lives so that we might have the freedom that we have today,” said Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell, a US Army veteran who gave the opening prayer.  “Today is not about barbecuing and NASCAR and all of these other things.  Today is the day that we dedicate to remember those who gave their lives so that we can have the freedoms that we have today.  It is always an honor to remember them and honor them.”

Post 143 Commander Lew Harding commented, “Today, we honor those who have given their lives for our country.  It is incumbent upon us that remain to remember and memorialize, to honor their spirit and their memory as we gather here today and as we do here today.   The annals of the history of country are filled with their sacrifice, their heroism, their willingness to lay it all on the line again and again.”

He went on to say, “Many of you ladies and gentlemen here today have participated in such an endeavor, but today we are here to memorialize those who were lost…we pause today to remember those who paid the price for our freedom in lost dreams and in lost lives.”

Maj. Bill Underwood salutes as Warren Dupree, Post 143 service officer, plays “Taps” to end Monday’s ceremony.

Maj. Bill Underwood salutes as Warren Dupree, Post 143 service officer, plays “Taps” to end Monday’s ceremony.

During the event, Commander Harding read the list of nominees for the new Cherokee Veterans Memorial Museum Roll of Honor including:  former Principal Chief Robert S. Youngdeer, highly decorated World War II veteran; Col. Bob Blankenship, Vietnam combat aviator; Ray Kinsland, helped form the JROTC program at Cherokee High School; Ken Blankenship, Vietnam combat veteran; and Clyde Harrison, recipient of the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.  The nominees will be voted upon at a later time.

Chavella Bailey, US Navy, and Ernest Panther, U.S. Air Force veteran, performed the Ringing of the Bell ceremony to honor all of the EBCI tribal members who have lost their lives in combat.  Bailey read the names as Panther rang the bell in their honor.

World War I

–          Steve Youngdeer, US Army

–          Joe Kalonaheskie, US Army

World War II

–          Boyd Catt, US Army

–          Jacob Cornsilk, US Army

–          Adam West Driver, US Marine Corps

–          James R. Lambert, US Army

–          Samuel William Otter, US Navy

–          Blaine Queen, US Army

–          Mark Rattler, US Marine Corps

–          Isaac Ross, US Army

–          Joshua Shell, US Army

–          Sheridan Smith, US Marine Corps

–          Vernon George Sneed, US Army

–          William Taylor, US Navy

–          Enos Thompson, US Army

–          Jeremiah Toineeta, US Army

–          Robert Austin Wahneeta, US Marine Corps

Korea

–          Charles Arch, US Marine Corps

–          Charles George, US Army, Medal of Honor recipient

Vietnam

–          John Burgess, US Army

–          John Edward Oocumma, US Army

Following the reading of names, Col. Blankenship read “To Those Who Served” and “In Flanders Field” which was followed by the laying of the wreath by Col. Blankenship, Maj. Bill Underwood and Sgt. Alva Brown.

The ceremony closed with the gun salute by the Post 143 Color Guard and the playing of “Taps” by Warren Dupree, Post 143 service officer, and Leo Pete.

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