Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
WAYLAND, MICHIGAN Frank Kequom, a 91 year old World War II veteran, was honored yesterday on Veterans Day at the Veterans Dance and Feast before a crowd of approximately 150 people.
Amazing Grace Played by Bagpipes
Kequom, a tribal citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, was surrounded by his wife of 64 years, Phyliss, and his family, as he was honored for the service in the US Army during World War II where he earned a Bronze Star, among other military awards.
Kequom heard the town bell ring just after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 in Manistique, Michigan. He went down to the center of town with others who immediately enlisted in the military service to go fight in World War II. At the time, he was not yet 21, but joined the US Army when he turned 21. Once he enlisted he was sent to the South Pacific to fight in the jungle.
He served 23 months in the South Pacific. He broke his back during the war and was brought back to the United States and spent 21 months in a hospital.
After the war, he married Phyliss Pego, who he endearingly calls his "Little Chippewa." She is a tribal citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. The couple resides near Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
On Sunday, Kequom was presented with a Pendleton blanket.
The honoring was part of the festivities of the Veterans Dance and Feast at the Louella Collins Center that is owned by the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, commonly known as the Gun Lake Tribe.
The Veterans Dance and Feast was the brainchild of Korean War veteran George Martin, Ojibwe, in the late 1970s. Through the years it was known as the veterans powwow in West Michigan. In recent years, it has been held annually at the Louella Collins Center.
posted November 12, 2012 11:20 am edt