The members of the CPN Veterans Organization were invited by members of the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Organization, who were making their Flame of Freedom Ride, to attend a very special ceremony honoring POW/MIA’s of Oklahoma from the Vietnam War. The ceremony was sponsored the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and held at the Mchusuckey Mission Grounds south of Seminole in May 2016. The Rolling Thunder members performed the “Missing Man Ceremony.”
I have seen this ceremony several times, but this was the most moving service I have ever witnessed. They remembered the fallen and missing warriors by name with dog tags, a ring of a brass bell, a bamboo cage, like those used to hold POWs in Vietnam, a flame burning to represent the light burning at home to light their way and an empty place setting at a table. It was a reverent and emotional event. I doubt I shall see anything like it again.
Those speaking at the service were Leonard Harjo, principal chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; Lewis Johnson, assistant chief of the Seminole Nation; Major General Myles Deering of the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs and the executive director and Oklahoma Secretary of VA; John McKendree, president of Mississippi Chapter of Rolling Thunder; Kay Guynes, president of Oklahoma Chapter of Rolling Thunder; Michael Coon, Mission 22 founder; Rex Hailey, commander of Seminole Nation Honor Guard; Daryl Talbot, Commander of CPN Veterans Organization; Russell Willey, director of Cheyenne-Arapaho Veterans Office; Tiffany Ahgoon, Seminole Nation Princess Event coordinator.
Of interest to veterans is a special exhibit at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee. A tribute to America’s combat artists and fighting forces, the exhibition titled “Art from the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard” runs through August 21, 2016. It should be well worth a visit.
Remember the CPN Veterans Organization normally meets every month on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.