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November/December 2019

A PLACE OF HEALING, COMFORT, AND STRENGTH: Groundbreaking for the Warriors’ Circle of Honor

After an extended process that included consultations with tribal leaders across the country and a two-stage competition that drew designers from around the globe, the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., hosted the groundbreaking for the National Native American Veterans Memorial on September 2.

This memorial will join the other memorials along the National Mall, but tell the story of the veterans of past wars,” Memorial Advisory Committee Co-Chair Jefferson Keel said. “Instead of focusing on any one war or even on war at all, our memorial focuses on the qualities of the warrior.”

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Harvey Pratt designed the memorial, which he called The Warriors’ Circle of Honor. His winning design, an expression of American Indian spirituality, features an oversized elevated stainless steel circle over an intricately carved drum. Other elements include water for ceremonial uses, benches for reflection, and four lances on which veterans, family members, tribal leaders, and others may hang messages and prayers.

“The timelessness of this memorial is going to fit everybody: It fits our ancestors, it fits us now, and it will fit us in the future,” said Pratt, who is a Southern Cheyenne chief for the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. “All veterans are welcome. It is a place for healing, comfort, and strength.”

The museum hosted a day of celebrations during the groundbreaking that included speeches and fanfare, tours of the planned memorial, ceremonial dances, and a drum circle. The dedication of the completed memorial is scheduled for Veterans Day 2020.

VVA members Stephen Bowers of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Allen Hoe, a Hawaiian native, are on the National Native American Veterans Memorial’s Advisory Committee.

At left: Harvey Pratt with NMAI Director Kevin Gover. For more information, go to http://nmai.si.edu/nnavm




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Chapter 1105Quilts of Honor: Sussex County, Delaware Chapter 1105   Chapter 946POW/MIA Chair of Honor: Central Georgia Chapter 946
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