Cherokee Warrior Memorial
"All gave some...some gave all"
Cherokee Nation, Park Hill, Oklahoma
by Paul Ridenour
Warrior Memorial Dedication Article at bottom of webpage
Bricks with names only cover the first half of the circle
I was off work on 2/21/2006 and I forced Gary Malone at gunpoint to take the day off. I wanted to see the Cherokee Warrior Memorial that opened up in November 2005. It is a memorial for Cherokees who fought in all American-US wars. Dottie and I purchased a couple of bricks for Major Ridge and Stand Watie. Here are the Ridge/Watie/Boudinot bricks:
Major Ridge - War of 1812 Stand Watie - Civil War Brigadier General
Frank Boudinot and Henry Boudinot Saladin Watie - son of Stand Watie, purchased by Dot's dad Hugh Doyen
For our bricks at the Tahlequah courthouse, go to my Cherokee Holiday webpage
I was surprised at the number of bricks that mentioned Stand Watie's Regiment, Watie's Calvary, Watie's 2nd Mounted Cherokee Rifles, and the number of bricks with the name Watie. Here are some bricks that caught my attention and some from relatives:
Charles M. Walkingstick Syvertsen R. Walkingstick
Deerinwater Charles Nigh - Codetalker
Noble Washbourne - Ridge descendant CSA Watie Regiment
[Danna Washbourne and family]
John W. Adair Jessie C. Wood - Watie's 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles
W. C. Adair James L Stowe - Gary has Stowe relatives in OK
Richard Fields - Watie's 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles Jesse M. Adair - Watie David Adair
and War of 1812
Oscar F. Adair - Watie J. W. Adair, Jr. John W. Adair, Jr. Col. W. P. Adair - Watie
[Col. William Penn Adair]
W. C. Adair
Ivy Ridenhour - no relation Watie Bitting
John Thompson and Paul Thompson - J. C. Thompson's family? Watie Ketcher
Watie Waddie Johnson Zada and Watie Robertson
Issac Dick - Watie's Calvary Ellis Dick - Watie's Calvary
Location of the Saladin Watie brick
Location of Major Ridge and Stand Watie bricks
There was snow on the ground which made for some nice pictures. I have never been to Elias Boudinot's grave while there was snow on the ground. Gary and I went to see a few more things in Park Hill and Tahlequah. I will add some pictures below. We also ate some delicious buffalo steaks, quail, and blackberry cobbler at the excellent Echota House Restaurant - www.echotahouse.com
Elias Boudinot's grave and historical marker - Park Hill, OK (1802 - 1839)
Worcester Cemetery inside fence
Missionary Samuel A. Worcester (Died April 1859 - Aged 67)
Ann Orr, first wife of Samuel A. Worcester and a DAR (Died May 1840 - Aged 40)
Erminia Nash, second wife of Samuel A. Worcester (Died May 1872 - Aged 70)
Ross Cemetery - Park Hill, OK
Principal Chief John Ross (10/3/1790 - 8/1/1866) - War of 1812
The main Ross Family plot inside the fence
Murrell House - Park Hill, OK
Cherokee Heritage Center
Cherokee Village at the Cherokee Heritage Center - Park Hill, OK
Warrior Memorial Dedicated
TAHELQUAH, Okla. - About 200 people, including veterans of all military branches who served in America’s wars, watched as a Marine Corps 34D helicopter landed near the Cherokee Warrior Memorial to open the dedication ceremony Nov. 10 at the tribal complex.
Principal Chief Chad Smith, Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, tribal research and policy analyst Dr. Richard Allen and Dist. 7 Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan emerged from the helicopter as Rogan Noble, tribal Veterans Affairs Office benefits counselor, welcomed the crowd.
Rev. Don Nichols of the Military Order of the Purple Heart gave the ceremony’s invocation before the Cherokee National Color Guard raised the United States, Cherokee Nation and Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action flags above the memorial.
Stilwell High School band director and Vietnam veteran Sam Morris then led the crowd in singing the national anthem before former Navy Lt. Elizabeth Olmo of the Center for Minority Veterans in Washington, D.C., read a proclamation issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
"It is with great pride and honor that I welcome you to the dedication ceremony of the Cherokee Warrior Memorial that is dedicated to recognizing the sacrifices and contributions of American Indian veterans," Olmo said. "Their service is a reminder that diversity is one of our greatest strengths. The thousands of American Indian men and women who fought for America’s freedom are a testament to the power of American will and determination."
VAO counselor and former Marine Staff Sgt. Debra Wilson then wished her fellow Marines and the Corps a happy 330th birthday and thanked those who made the memorial possible including all veterans, VAO workers and people who bought engraved bricks for the memorial.
Noble introduced several dignitaries and veteran groups in the crowd including Sam Jarvis, director of the VA in Muskogee; Adam Walmus, director of VA Medical Center in Muskogee; Yvonne Kilti, public relations director of the Muskogee VA; Will Rogers of the Korean War Veterans Association; state Sen. Jim Wilson; Rep. Mike Brown; Rep. John Auffet; Rep. Jerry McPeak; and the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club.
Noble then introduced Gary Jackson of the Oklahoma National Guard who recognized several ONG members and its commander, Gen. Bud Wyatt.
"I would like to point out that some of these young men and young women, on their right shoulder of their uniforms, have a combat patch. They are recent veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq," Jackson said. "It’s our honor to be here, and I certainly appreciate the great spirit of patriotism that is always exhibited by the Cherokee Nation."
Navy veteran and Dist. 9 Tribal Councilor Charles "Chuck" Hoskin followed Jackson by telling the crowd of his family’s military service. Hoskin said his father Samuel and three uncles served in the military dating back to World War I as "part of the debt" his ancestors paid in order to live in the "greatest country in the world."
Dr. Allen, a former Marine sergeant, then told the crowd of how a Cherokee National Holiday planning committee in 1985 initiated the plans for the memorial as well as plans for the tribe’s VAO.
Chief Smith then told the history of Native Americans who served in the country’s military branches and how no other ethnic group has served at a higher percentage.
"In World War II, 25,000 Native Americans in all fronts of Europe and Asia received more than 71 Air Medals, 51 Silver Stars, 47 Bronze Stars, 34 Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Congressional Medals of Honor," he said. "In Korea, many Native Americans joined the service during that conflict. In Vietnam, more than 41,500 Native Americans enlisted to serve the United States….This gave Native Americans the highest record of service of any ethnic group in the country’s history." Smith thanked the Tribal Council for helping fund the memorial, which cost more than $100,000. The council gave more than $50,000 with the rest coming from brick sales. He also announced plans for a veterans center to be built in the coming years located near the memorial.
Smith and Grayson also presented the new Cherokee Medal of Patriotism to councilors Buel Anglen, Don Garvin, Joe Crittenden and Hoskin along with former Deputy Chief and Dist. 1 Tribal Councilor John Ketcher, Dr. Allen, Noble and eight members of the Cherokee National Color Guard.
"We hope to give them to all veterans who are Cherokee who have served in the active military, reserves or the National Guard," Grayson said.
The Adult Cherokee Choir sang "There is a Happy Land," "God’s Children" and "Amazing Grace" before Smith, Grayson, Miss Cherokee and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Purple Heart laid two wreaths on the memorial to conclude the dedication.
Cherokee draftsman Marianne Biziano designed the memorial at 100 feet across with 50-foot CN seal in the center. The seal’s seven-pointed star represents the seven Cherokee clans. About 2,000 engraved bricks honoring Cherokee veterans surround the seal.
A 12-foot-by-20-foot black granite wall centerpiece inscribed in both Cherokee and English reads: "A grateful Cherokee Nation dedicates this memorial to all Cherokee men and women, both living and dead, who have defended their families, their people, and their homeland," on one side with "These names are carved in stone forever - so that we and our children can learn and remember. POW-MIA, you are not forgotten" on the other side.
Seven short flag poles, which represent the tribes seven clans - Deer, Wolf, Bird, Long Hair, Wild Potato, Blue and Paint - stand between the memorial and its three taller flag poles that hold the U.S., tribal and POW/MIA flags. Noble said the clan poles would be available to the Cherokee people to fly its clan’s flag when a Cherokee veteran dies.
Two .105MM-caliber guns also flank each side of the memorial with names in the Cherokee syllabary. The U.S. Marine Corps gun, with Thunder emblazoned in Cherokee on the barrel, sits on the north side while the U.S. Army’s gun - Lightning - sits on the south side. Lights have been installed to illuminate the memorial at night.
The VAO will continue to sell bricks for $25 as long as Cherokee veterans continue to serve. Engraved bricks can also be moved and placed next to family and friends if desired. For more information, call Noble at (918) 453-5695 or e-mail Rogan-Noble@cherokee.org.