In every foreign war, including the present conflicts that face our nation today, Native Americans have enlisted in larger numbers than any other group. Currently, studies show that one out of every four American Indian adult males have served or are serving in the U.S Military. To honor the sacrifice these men gave to this country is the proposed American Indian Memorial.
The proposed American Indian Veterans Memorial has been years in the making, a journey that began in 2005. The American Indian Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Committee has spent years organizing and fundraising to bring this memorial to full realization. The American Indian Memorial was approved more than a decade ago with the committee raising $4 million to have it built.
The American Indian Veterans Memorial monument will be the first national memorial to specifically honor the American Indian and Alaska Native veterans at any of the nation’s cemeteries.
During World War I 14,000 Native Americans volunteered to serve in the military, even though Native Americans had not been granted citizenship in their own country. As a result of their sacrifice and extraordinary patriotism, the U.S Congress granted returning citizenship to the American Indian Veterans. This action later assisted in promoting citizenship for all Native Americans in 1924.
The American Indian Veterans Memorial, as a small token of our nation’s gratitude to the Native Americans, represents gratitude for more than 200 years of service and their sacrifice throughout our nation’s history. World-renowned sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg, designer and sculptor, of the Veterans Memorial located at Riverside National Cemetery, has designed the American Indian Veterans Memorial appropriately named “The Gift.”
The striking sculpture serves as a focal point sitting directly across the lake from the American Indian Veterans Memorial Plaza. The central plaza will have a large opening giving a clear view of the monument, with the smaller opening in the plaza wall giving view to 12 different eagle statues. The eagle statues represent the 12 regions the U.S Bureau of Indian Affairs dividing all Native American and Alaska Native Tribes. The American Indian Veterans Memorial was dedicated on April 8, 2017.
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