Veteran’s Day November 11, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
By Justine Jam

Veteran’s Day began as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The following information provides Montana teachers some relevant ways to commemorate the men and women veterans of Montana this November 11.
Gionnie Tobacco submitted the following two poems to the OPI IEFA to honor American Indian veterans. He is a student at Hardin HS and participated in a poetry writing workshop with
Mick Fedullo this past year.

by Gionnie Tobacco

The warriors are leaving    my woman says goodbye
I go to face death    she says, “My love will be with you”
I am off to the battlefield    tears run down her face
I ride with my brothers    my son runs after me
A tear comes to my eye    she grabs him by the waist
I man up to face my fate    they mourn for what will happen next
My benevolence is strong    she knows I fight for her
Then we meet our enemy    and she cooks for tonight
The battle begins    she waits for me
I take some lives    she walks out of the teepee
I come home to the camp    she looks for me in a group of men
I see her and yell her name    she cries for a time
But I’ve realized I’m dead    she walks away from the group
And I walk to her teepee    and she walks inside
Then I see a light    she hugs our son
I tell them I love them    she says, “Rest in peace”
And I say goodbye    she will weep for years
by Gionnie Tobacco

I jump off the boat    there’s my brother on the left
Omaha awaits    he thinks of his wife
My mind stops time    he wields his gun
I see a spider and a fly    he runs for the dugout
They fight for a time    we counter their attack
I snap out of it    he’s homesick for life
We both hide behind a rock    he fights for his wife
I shoot toward the distance    there’s peace for a moment
The dragon awakens    then there’s fire all over
I think I need a break    we run for cover
Death is all over    he’s glad he’s alive
The explosions ring my ears    he searches for tags
Airplanes overhead    the widows will grieve
Paratroopers landing    Omaha is won
We cheer for a moment    now the war begins
Veteran’s Day began as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Then in 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11th as Veterans Day and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. At 11 a.m., a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America's war dead during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds “Taps.” The balance of the ceremony, including a "Parade of Flags" by numerous Veterans service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.

Montana communities and schools throughout the state also hold ceremonies to pay respect and honor their local veterans. This includes reservation schools, which honor tribal members for their military contributions, using their individual tribal flag and songs for ceremony. Many schools host student interviews with veterans and history projects, as well as other ceremonies and meals honoring their veterans. These activities help students learn about the stories and events and bridges past generations to present.
From the OPI, Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians, EU 2, EU 3 can be linked to these contemporary activities which includes, and is not limited to: Tribal languages, cultures, and traditions which are alive and well throughout Indian country. Indigenous languages are still spoken, sacred songs are still sung, and rituals are still performed. It is not important for educators to understand all of the complexities of modern day contemporary American Indian cultures, however, educators should be aware of their existence. They should also understand the ways cultures might influence much of the thinking and practice of American Indians today. These histories and traditions may be private, to be used and understood only by members of that particular tribe. Educators should be aware of this issue when asking students about their histories, ceremonies, and stories.
Suggestions for Veteran’s Day in the classroom:

Back to Indian Education Home Page