The 2016 Gathering of Potawatomi Nations was a great success for the CPN veterans. We had approximately 80 attendees at our meeting of all tribal groups. Our Saturday morning meeting and greeting session in the CPN North Reunion Hall was a memorable event. Each veteran introduced themselves and shared with the group some information about their service.
One veteran shared his personal experiences with PTSD. It was a very difficult and brave step he took in telling about his struggle and recovery, noting that is an ongoing and long process. Combat is a life-changing ordeal that almost every soldier must face. It challenges their faith, spirit and conscience. From this warrior’s door opening step, several others began to share their own struggles with war demons. Everyone praised their courage in speaking openly about their own battles with the horrific memories of the war. It brought us all together as brothers in arms. Migwetch brothers.
As a member of the CPN Veterans Organization’s Color Guard, I have noticed that many people do not know what they should do when the American flag is brought into the arena. Standing is announced, but saluting is not. Nor is it suggested when the Flag Song or national anthem is sung. Veterans are taught this in their basic training, but it is not just for veterans. It is proper for all Americans to salute the American flag, the Flag Song and the national anthem. Any time the American flag passes you in a parade, you should stand, if you’re able, and salute by placing your right hand over your heart. Or, if you are a veteran, you may give a hand salute, with or without a hat. I would like to see more Americans showing their respect at events when the flag and song are presented.
Remember the CPN Veterans Organization meets every month on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the CPN North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.