USA Veterans Day, 11/11/11

By Roy Cook

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect.

On Veterans Day, ask yourself and others. What Is A Military Veteran?

A 'Veteran' -- whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve military is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, and including his life.'

That commitment is honor and duty in action. We, veterans painfully realize that there are still too many people that enjoy freedom in this country today yet no longer understand that, freedom is not free.

Fortunately, our military is made up of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title “military veteran.” And what a list of accomplishments can those 10 percent claim!

From defeating Communism, Fascism and Imperialism, to keeping the peace during the Cold War and battling terrorism today, America owes a debt to her veterans that can never be repaid.

VETERANS DAY US Census information:

24.9 million is the number of military veterans in the United States.

1.7 million is the number of veterans who are women.

9.7 million is the number of veterans who are age 65 or over.

2.4 million is the number of black veterans. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans are Hispanic; 272,000 are Asian; 159,000 are American Indian or Alaska native; and 30,000 are native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska natives and native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders cover only those reporting a single race.)

8.2 million is the Number of Vietnam-era veterans. Vietnam veterans account for more than 3-in-10 veterans, the largest share of any period of service. The next largest share of wartime veterans, 4.4 million or nearly 2-in-10, served during World War II.

16% is the Percentage of Persian Gulf War veterans who are women. In contrast, women account for 5 percent of World War II vets, 3 percent of Vietnam vets and 2 percent of Korean War vets.

Historically, on November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory". There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11am.

In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving. The Congress also requested that the president should "issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples."

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved on May 13, 1938, which made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I. A few years later, World War II required the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the United States and the American forces fought in Korea. In 1954, the veteran’s service organizations urged Congress to change the word "Armistice" to "Veterans". Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, where ever and whenever they had served.

When remembering the millions of people who have been liberated by American forces around the globe from history’s most evil oppressors.

Born of their extraordinary accomplishments comes our extraordinary debt. And part of that debt is owed to the military families who have sacrificed so much for their country. We must honor all of these families and not just with Blue and Gold Star Banners, but with compassionate hearts. PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and life-altering war wounds not only affect the veteran, but can also take an enormous toll on the family as well.

While veterans are often ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things, often an extraordinary family supports the ordinary veteran. And in reality, it is the veterans that have given us this extraordinary country.

These returning servicemen, along with most of the unemployed workers and advocates for American Indian and Native Alaskan families, are beginning to ask some tough questions.

1. Why is it that the U. S. can afford unlimited amounts for destruction and reconstruction on the other side of the world but cannot afford resources for people who have been historically mistreated
within its own borders?

2. Why would the Congress cut infrastructure money for disadvantaged communities at home while billions in reconstruction money can "disappear" in Iraq?

3. Why is it fair to run up the deficit giving tax cuts to the very rich and then decide to reduce that
deficit by hurting the poor?

Those in Congress who are aware of the living conditions of poor tribes agree that the proposed cuts
for Indian programs in the 2011 budget make little sense. Fiscal conservative Senator John McCain
(AZ) says the dramatic cuts proposed will do nothing for the country at large but will cause much harm to
the most vulnerable and deprived people in Indian Country. In his words:

"The federal government has continually reneged on its trust and moral obligations to meet the educational,
healthcare and housing needs of Indians and these needs far outweigh the imperceptible contribution that
the proposed cuts will make to reducing the deficit."

This American hemisphere has always been Indian land. Indian Warriors have always defended this Indian Land.

This year the Commander-in-Chief announced that our troops in Iraq will be coming home very soon. Unfortunately too many Native American military veterans who are returning from Iraq will come home to sub-par living conditions in their reservation communities. In October 2011 ABC aired a view of the people living on the Pine Ridge reservation, South Dakota.

20/20 10/14: Children of the Plains Full Episode - 20/20 - ABC

They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one - They promised to take our land...and they took it. -- Chief Red Cloud, Lakota.


Woodrow "Woody" Keeble

Military Branch: Army

Mr. Keeble served in World War II and in the Korean War.His rank was Army Master Sergeant.

Mr. Keeble died in 1982 at age 65.



Mr. Keeble was decorated with:
- two Purple Hearts
- the Silver Star
- the Bronze Star
- Combat Infantry Badge
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Congressional Medal of Honor

“Keeble Is First Sioux to Receive Medal of Honor”

Washington, D.C. (AP) Nearly 26 years after his death, Army Master Sgt. Woodrow “Woody” Keeble was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on March 3 [, 2008,] for his efforts during the Korean War.

Keeble is the first Sioux Indian to receive the honor, and the 10th person to receive the medal from President Bush. Keeble’s stepson, Russell Hawkins, accepted the medal at a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House.

A member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Sioux, Keebler served in two wars and is one of the most decorated soldiers in history, yet he was never considered for the Medal of Honor due to bureaucratic mix-ups. After a long effort by Keeble’s family, fellow soldiers, tribal members and two U.S. senators, Congress approved the nomination in 2002.

“I am very pleased that Master Sgt. Keeble’s bravery and valor will be recognized with our nation’s highest military honor,” Senator Tim Johnson said. “The Keeble family, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and all the people of Dakotas today have reason to celebrate and remember his service and valor.”

Born in Waubay, South Dakota, Keeble moved to Wahpeton, North Dakota as a child. When he was old enough, Keeble joined the North Dakota National Guard and, in 1942, shipped out to the South Pacific with the North Dakota 164th Infantry Regiment.

On the island of Guadalcanal, Keeble saw some of the most intense combat of WWII. In October 1942, was wounded in an attempt to rescue his comrades. He was recognized for his actions and awarded his first Bronze Star and the first of his four Purple Hearts.

Keeble returned to service in the Korean War at age 34 as a Master Sergeant. On October 20, 1951 he was near Kumsong battling the Chinese. With his fellow soldiers pinned down by heavy enemy gunfire Keeble--already wounded--made his way up a hill and took out four machine gun bunkers.

For his action, Keeble’s men twice recommended him for the Medal of Honor but Keeble instead, received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest commendation.

Keeble served in two wars and is one of the most decorated soldiers in history, having received two Purple Hearts, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Combat Infantryman Badge and the Distinguished Service Cross.

Following his service in Korea, Keeble returned to North Dakota where he worked as a counselor until a series of strokes rendered him unable to work. He died in 1982, at the age of 65 and is buried in Sisseton, South Dakota.

In every language:

English: We support our warriors. - God Bless America!

Cherokee: "Aniyosgi Dotsigusdaa. - Unelanvhi Wigadoligi Ama Ayetli"

Lakota: "Nahan Akicita unkitawapi ki Owicikiunyapi kte. - Wakan Tanka makoce ki la waste kte"

Oodham: “Ahchim dagiod s-chu cheggiaDkam – Jiosh ho’ige’id jeweD”

Even though political tides and public sentiment may render a war unpopular, they do not affect a Warrior’s commitment to serve their country. We welcome our Warriors home regardless of the politics of the war in which they fought.

Along with our Military Sisters and Brothers in arms, let us remember this Military Veterans Day. Pray for all our troops in harm’s way now.

Creator Tunkashila Let we stand strong in protection of our lands, our beliefs, our Sacred Spirituality, and our traditional Indigenous ways of life. We stand in strong support of Indigenous Rights, sovereignty and the Inherent Aboriginal Land Title of Dakota, Lakota, and All Tribal Lands. Let us reclaim what is traditionally and by negotiated treaty due to our people and work diligently to preserve what we now have, for all our relations. Mitakye Oyatsin.