FPST recognizes veterans during special ceremony | NevadaAppeal.com

FPST recognizes veterans during special ceremony

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., reports American Indians serve in all branches of the military forces in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group.

“According to the U.S. Department of Defense, as of 2012 there were over 22,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives on active duty, and the 2010 Census identified over 150,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. Twenty-seven Native Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor,” wrote museum director Kevin Gover.

“I was raised with stories of friends and family members’ bravery on the battlefield,” he said.

Likewise, Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe Chairman Leonard George has also heard of similar stories of service and sacrifice from the code talkers who served in World War I and II to the bravery of a young Army pilot in Vietnam. George strongly recognizes the need to recognize local Native Americans who have fought in many of the nation’s wars including those who died in combat. George presided over Friday’s FPST’s annual salute to veterans that included individual recognition and lunch. A visual presentation showed the photos and names of the area’s veterans, and a table displayed memorabilia such as photos, awards and newspaper articles.

“It means a lot to recognize veterans,” said George, who served in the U.S. Army from 1993-1997. “Even with a small event, veterans need to be honored for everything they did for our country.”

In addition to the annual Veterans Day ceremony, George also attends the Memorial Day services to honor the Native American Fallon men and women who served in the military and have since died.

As a young man, George enlisted in the Army 10 years after he graduated from high school in 1993. Like so many of his friends, he had a strong desire to serve his country. After basic training, he attended advanced training to become proficient in the systems repair for air defense. George spent the majority of his enlistment in Germany in a new world era after the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall. The wall separated West Berlin from both East Berlin and East Germany. Two years later, the Soviet Union dissolved, thus signaling an end of the Cold War between the United States and its allies and the Soviet bloc.

“We still had that threat with Russia or some other country,” George recalled of his time in Germany.

George said while people back in the United States conduct their everyday life, the soldiers, sailors and airmen stationed around the world serve every day, every hour away from home.

“The worst part is being away from family,” he said. “Every veteran and veteran’s family can relate to that.”

As George knows from his prior service, military personnel from Europe to Afghanistan will be on the front lines while those back home will be sleeping safely.