In honor of Veterans Day, we have spoken with a few members of the Citizen Potawatomi Veterans’ Organization, who kindly shared their experiences in service of our country.
While these responses reflect a small number of CPN Veterans, former members of the armed forces are encouraged to get into contact with the CPN Cultural Heritage Center and the CPN Veterans Organization. Collections Manager Stacy Coon continues to collect photos and names of those members who have served in the military for the Veterans Wall of Honor. If you have served, or have a relative that has, please contact the CPN Cultural Heritage Center so that you may be added to the Veterans Wall of Honor.
Jon Boursaw – Colonel, USAF (Ret), CPN Legislator, District 4
“I have been on both ends of the spectrum of celebrating Veterans Day. Some of my activities over the past 50+ years include leading the squadron down the Main St of St Albans, Vt., assisting in laying a wreath on a memorial in North Bay, Ontario, delivering a Veterans Day message in Aviano, Italy, and carrying the US flag down Main Street of Shawnee, Okla. as part of the CPN Color Guard. Now I’m the one listening to the speech, saluting as the flag goes be, and shaking hands with the other veterans, and I don’t even know their names, but we are recognizing those who are serving and have served.
The single impact that my career had on me was the development of a self-confidence that has served me in many forms, not only during my military service but in life in general. That self-confidence has allowed me to face difficult situations, confront adversities, and overall be at ease in the variety of environments that I have encountered over the years. “
Daryl Talbot – Commander CPN Veterans Organization
“Celebrating Veterans Day is like having my birthday. It’s my special day, but the whole nation is celebrating it with me. However, the big picture, it makes me feel proud to see my country giving recognition to all my veteran brothers for the sacrifices we have made for our nation. It helps us feel that what we have done was worthwhile.
The time I spent in the military has affected my daily decision making throughout my life. It has given me a filter of experience that helps me make choices in day to day living. Choosing which direction to take and how to handle the situations found on that path, and planning my strategies for surviving the challenges I will face. Military service is good training for living life.”
Roy Slavin – CPN Legislator, District 1
“My time in the service had a major impact on my life as I enlisted at the age of 17 with my mother’s permission prior to completing my high school education. My time in the service allowed me to complete my education and more as I attended arguably the finest electronics school in the world at Ft. Monmouth, N.J. This education and experience prepared me for a lifetime career in electronics. On Veterans Day I have a special sense of pride for having served and a great admiration and respect for those who served in combat zones.”
David Barrett – CPN Legislator District 10, CPN Veterans Organization Treasurer
“Dealing with being drafted and how the fellow Americans was treating the returning vets weighed heavily on my decision to join the Navy. As I have said military life wasn’t for me. However, serving in the Navy gave me an opportunity that I will always be grateful for. Being a driven individual anyway, I realized that certain jobs like Radar Technician you had to work 24/7, five to six days straight until the radar becomes operational again.
The Service taught me that there are many people who can do your job; however, when you are on duty you are the one who will have to do the job. It takes everybody doing their jobs to accomplish the overall goals. What Veterans Day means to me is that we as Americans should always stop and reflect what a sacrifice it is to give a life, limbs, or a mental condition for the Freedom for all, even those among us who don’t appreciate that privilege.
I want to personally thank our Potawatomi veterans first of all for their service and those who are serving on active duty. Secondly, I want to thank all those others who have served and are serving for our Great Country.”
Herb Holton – CPN Veterans Organization Color Guard
“Being in the military provided me a real time opportunity to experience and learn maturity and effective discipline. It is very humbling and a true honor to be considered a veteran and share the many activities with others, especially those who may not have served.
I fully believe that our government, specifically the Department of Veteran Affairs should do a much better job of caring for our injured veterans. The current situation is appalling.”