Pointing to the name of a friend etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC
Memorial Day has so many meanings and events that take place throughout the country. At cemeterys, people gather and programs are held. Parades honoring soldiers. The furniture store in town is having a sale. All in honor of the Veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice. One day, set aside. The soldiers die every day. Their relatives and friends grieve every day. Their children are parentless every day. They stand and fight every day. It is a shame that they are honored for just one day.
In the Native American community, things are a little different. Veterans are held in high esteem at all times. At each Pow Wow, a gathering of people in an extreme sense of community where drums beat, singers sing and dancers show their steps around the circle, Veterans are honored, not only at each Pow Wow, but each day of every Pow Wow. The flags are paraded into the circle and flown there. Each day starts with a flag ceremony. Veterans, both dead and alive are honored. The people prepare a feast and share this in the name of the Veterans.
Raising the flag of a deceased Veteran at the Grand Portage Pow Wow. It is said that when flags are honored in this way, the Veteran is waving his last goodbye and saying Thank You to the people
Each year, at such a Pow Wow event, I attend and try to fly the flag of a Veteran I have known that has passed. The event is the Grand Portage Rendezvous Pow Wow which takes place on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation located in the farthest reaches of Northern Minnesota, right at the Canadian border along the shores of the Great Lake Superior.
This August, I will go there with other Veterans, friends of mine, and they will help man the flag poles. We'll raise and honor two flags this year. One for my Father, Frank Spado, and one for Mrs. Spadoman's Father, Edwin Mueller. Both of our Fathers were in the service during World War II. My dad in the US Army and Barb's dad in the Marine Corps. They didn't die in battle, but they served just the same. They are Veterans.
A couple of years ago, I took the flag of a friend of mine that did die on the field of battle. His name is Frazier T. Dixon. He was in my unit, the 2nd Battalion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, part of the 25th Infantry Division. We were called the Triple Deuce. Frazier died in battle on the night of December 6th, 1969.
I made a video of the flag raising ceremony for my friend. It is long and YouTube won't allow me to print it here. But I'll watch it today. This is how I'll remember and memorialize our Veterans this year here at Round Circle for Memorial Day. But be sure, there isn't a day that passes in the life of a Warrior that Veterans aren't remembered and battles aren't relived in our minds. They are with us forever and become part of who we are.
High school photo of my friend, Frazier T. Dixon of Clarks Hill, SC. Frazier gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life in The Republic of Vietnam, December 6, 1969
You see, once you are chosen to be a Warrior, you are a Warrior forever. Being a Warrior isn't just going off to do the bidding of society. It is staying sober, not beating your spouse, serving your community, serving the Elders and the Children, being honest and living a life where integrity means everything. Above all, a Warrior stands and is honored by the people when the people need to honor them. It's not about the Warrior, it is about service to the people.
"You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a special meaning the protected will never know."
Honor your Veterans every day. For whether or not you agree with any war, whether or not you support our government and their policies, whether ot not you pray to God or not, it is a fact that Warriors fight for your freedom and are willing to die for you, even when you hate them and blame them for the wars we fight in the name of our country. They do the bidding for society, for without the approval of society, there would be no war. They have given something of themselves.
In death, they gave the ultimate, in life, they have given their souls when they have had to kill another in societies name. Those that survive carry this with them for eternity.
Peace to All