In honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11th, we’re dipping into the video archives of the CPN Cultural Heritage Center for recent interviews with veteran Tribal members. They share their war stories, pride in their Native heritage and how their service has changed their lives.
Charles Scott was enlisted in the both the Army and the Navy throughout his service career in the 1980s. He traveled around the world as a member of both branches and ended his military years with a wide range of skills, including medical and construction.
“When I was in the Navy, I traveled all over the world,” he said. “All over the Middle East, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Philippines, Korea. People are people. There’s not any difference. They all want the same thing. They’re all fun and caring and forgiving and loving. And some of them can be mean and hateful, but they’re just people.”
In the 2010s, Army veteran Joseph Zientek was deployed twice to Afghanistan as a member of the 2nd battalion 506th infantry regiment, the same battalion memorialized in HBO’s miniseries Band of Brothers for its actions in World War II.
“I needed that structure to straighten up. Quite literally I was on the way into work a little bit depressed that day, and I saw a guy broke down on the side of the road, so I stopped to help him. And he got out of his car, and he was in his dress uniform. … Ultimately, I wound up joining the Army,” Zientek said.
Michelle Jesse serves in the United States Public Health Service. While not considered military or enlisted, they do wear Navy uniforms and are considered active duty for their important assignments and research contributing to the well being of the nation.
“You don’t just sign up, you apply and you’re appointed by your education and experience by the Surgeon General of the United States. And I just remember thinking, ‘I want to do that,’” Jesse said.
Chi migwetch to all CPN tribal members who have served or are currently serving in our Armed Forces. Your sacrifice and dedication will never be forgotten.
For more information and to schedule an interview with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center to share your story, call 405 878-5830.
Hownikan Podcast is produced and distributed by Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Public Information Department. Subscribe to Hownikan Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and wherever you find your favorite shows. Find digital editions of the Tribal newspaper here.