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Chickasaw warriors honor fallen in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chickasaw warriors placed wreaths at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery during a recent trip to Washington.

Three Chickasaw Vietnam veterans presented a Chickasaw Elder Veterans wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during a special Veterans Day ceremony Monday, Nov. 11. They included U.S. Marine Corps veteran Bobby Blevins, of Sulphur, Okla.; and U.S. Army veterans Doyle Ember­son, of Midwest City, Okla., Larry Horton, of Ada, Okla.

Four Chickasaw Vietnam veterans presented a Chickasaw Elder Veterans wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Tues­day, Nov. 12. They included U.S. Army veterans Ron Murrell, of Southlake, Texas and Edgar Homer, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gary Crittenden, of Broken Arrow; and U.S. Air Force veteran Alice Saxon, of Lone Grove, Okla.

The veterans, all from the Vietnam War era, traveled with 10 fellow Chickasaw veterans and citizens on a five-day trip to Washington sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation. Each year, the tribe sends its warriors here to take part in Veterans Day memorial ceremonies and enjoy the opportunity to meet other Chickasaws who have served.

Mr. Crittenden said he remembered everyone with whom he served.

“It’s a life changing, life altering decision – going into the military – and I’m very glad I did,” he said.

Governor Bill Anoatubby, also a veteran, said the trip was an expression of appreciation to Chickasaws who have served our country.

“There is something truly special about those men and women who serve in the armed forces to defend our freedoms and way of life,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “While it is important to make a special effort to honor their service on Veterans Day, it is always appropriate to express our appreciation for their sacrifice and dedication.”

This year’s trip took the warriors to monuments and memorials in our nation’s capital, including Veterans Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and World War II Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, National Archives, National Museum of the American Indian and other locations.

The Chickasaw Nation provides veterans with increased benefits and services, including the Chickasaw Warrior Society. The Warrior Society was formed by Gov. Anoatubby in 2015. The organization encourages the community, supports camaraderie, and personifies the Chickasaw warrior spirit. The Chickasaw Nation also opened the Chickasaw Nation Veterans Lodge on the Ada South Campus near the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada.

The site was selected to assist veterans in a centralized location. It serves by helping them conveniently access all resources available through the Chickasaw Nation and other sources. It also functions as a place for members of the Chickasaw Warrior Society, other veterans and those in active service to come together for fellowship and build relationships.