Friday, December 7, 2012

Remembering World War II Warriors

Today is the 71st. year since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. A number a Native Americans, from all different tribes and nations served in the US military all over the globe, though, over-whelmingly, most served in the Pacific Theater. Additionally another 2,000 Native Hawaiians also served Here is the Wikipedia link to an article about Native Americans serving in World War II.  Most well known among those serving in World War II were the Navajo code talkers, a small group to begin with, there are very few of them remaining.  Here is the link to the Official Site of the Navajo Code Talkers.

Other famous Pacific fighters include Ira Hayes (Ak Chin O'odham [Pima] from Gila Bend), who was among the group of Marines who raised the second flag on Iwo Jima in the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal, and can be seen furthest to the left.  Another contribution that is much less known but documented by his famous musician/storytelling son Jack, is that of Wallace Gladstone (Blackfeet), who was a gunner in the US Navy and was highly specialized on the 20 MM anti-aircraft guns, a pretty exclusive group and one that needed to be highly trained, and good with the gun, no easy task.  This chronicle can be found on the recording "Blackfeet Storysmith:  Recollections Of Kút-oy-is (1925-2003).  Several members of my extended family (including in-laws) served, and I have two uncles that are still with us that served in the Navy in the Pacific.  But it is my late father's (a Korean Vet himself) older brother that I would like to dedicate this to.  He too was born in 1925 and was in the naval battle at Guadalcanal.  And though not formerly enrolled in a Federally Recognized Tribe, he was one of hundreds with serious Native American ancestry who served with distinction and got little recognition.  Here's to all the living World War II veterans, and to those who have gone before us, may you all rest in peace!

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