Native American veterans will finally get their own memorial on the National Mall this Veterans Day when the Smithsonian Institution dedicates the Native American Veterans Memorial at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
The dedication ceremony, which will be livestreamed, will include a virtual program honoring the service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families. The program will include tributes to Native veterans and a virtual tour of the memorial.
Native Americans serve in the military at a higher rate than any other demographic, according to the White House.
The memorial, which was funded by individual, corporation and Native nation donations is free to visit and open 24 hours.
Its centerpiece is a vertical stainless steel ring balanced on an intricately carved stone drum, surrounded by a seating area and gateways located at the four cardinal directions. The memorial includes a water feature, a symbolic flame that can be lit for special occasions, and extensive symbology designed to be timeless and inclusive, honoring all Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian veterans, as well as the families who support them.
The memorial was designed by Harvey Pratt, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and a Southern Cheyenne Peace Chief. Pratt is an artist, Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, and retired forensic artist.
This memorial will soon be joined by a second memorial to Native American veterans, the American Indian Veterans Memorial, located at Riverside National Cemetery in California and created by the Department of Veterans Affairs. That memorial was also completely funded by private and tribal donations.
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