Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents.Discussion »
WAYLAND, MICHIGAN The sounds of motorcycles thundered outside the Gun Lake Casino on Wednesday at the conclusion of the "Send Off" ceremony of the "Cost of Freedom" exhibit, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
"Cost of Freedom" Escort Assembles at Gun Lake Casino
Some 220 motorcycles provided an escort to the traveling tribute to those who died for the country in Vietnam.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Tribe, Ogitch-E-Da - the Gun Lake Tribe Color Guard - performed a "Send Off" ceremony from the Gun Lake Casino before the traveling exhibit left for Kentwood, Michigan where it will be on display, starting today at noon through Sunday in Kentwood's Veterans Park. It is the only official stop in Michigan this year.
“It is an honor to host this sendoff from our reservation,”
said DK Sprague, tribal chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe.
Sprague served in the US Army in Vietnam for one tour as a communications specialist. Chairman Sprague presented two beaded sticks to organizers of the event.
The Sons of Three Fires drum performed two honor songs for the escorts for the motorcyclists.
Tribal Councilor Lorraine 'Punkin' and
Dave Shananquet at Send Off
“This is about honoring our fallen brothers and sisters by showing them respect. Over 58,000 did not come back because they had the moral courage to pay the sacrifice for us,”
commented Robert Olivarri, who served in Vietnam and now serves as the head veteran for the Ogitch-E-Daa - the Gun Lake Tribe Color Guard.
The replica of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial is 80 percent of the original wall at the National Mall in Washington, DC. The traveling exhibit is 360 feet long, eight feet tall and contains the 58,253 names of those who gave their lives for the United States and missing in action.
Olivarri smudged the motorcyclists as the other members of the color guard stood on two-sides of the exit as the cyclists left casino premises.
posted July 26, 2012 8:20 am edt