At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month Veterans around the world will be celebrated in different ways.
Nov. 11 the Osage Nation will celebrate its veterans with a ceremony in an all-day string of events at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center hosted by the Harold Bigheart Smalley American Legion Post 198-Pawhuska.
The day begins at 11 a.m. with a flag raising followed by family songs and songs for this year’s honorees Lawrence Bighorse and Edward Lookout, both Osages who served in War World II.
Gary Elsberry, a Post 198 member and veteran, said the event is open to anyone wanting to help celebrate veterans all over, especially in Pawhuska.
“It’s a day to thank freedom and democracy because freedom isn’t free, because these are the guys that paid the freedom for everybody,” Elsberry said. “Everyone is welcome and every one will be welcomed when they get there.”
Elsberry said the flag raising will begin at 11 a.m. and then brought back down to half-staff, in honor of the holiday.
Bighorse and Lookout were chosen to be this year’s honorees as they have served in the 45thInfantry Division in WWII, and the most recent deployment to Afghanistan was Oklahoma’s 45thInfantry Brigade. Elsberry said the Post wanted to make the connection and found Bighorse and Lookout.
The honoring will begin at 1:30 p.m. and an evening meal will follow beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Elsberry said he’s happy to be a part of the event again. He said often times most civilians don’t understand the brotherly bond that veterans share and when Veteran’s Day rolls around they are reminded of the friendships they’ve made.
“When you’re in the military you learn your self discipline, integrity, loyalty, that’s where you learn how to share,” he said. “You might share your last drink of water with your buddy, your last food with your buddy, if you’re in a situation you might have to count your ammo and split it with your buddy.”
“We were all soldiers young and brave at one time,” he added.
To wrap up the evening a war dance is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm.
Elsberry said it’s a nice family event that he, his family and many others can enjoy.
“My family, our family fought in the Civil War, two of my other brothers were in the military…” he said. “As a family we have a lot of veterans in our family, in our family it’s always been a special day, Veterans Day.”
Those taking part in the ceremony are:
Head man dancer: Veteran Walker Martin
Head lady dancer : Emma Red Corn, past Post Commander and granddaughter of Andrew “Buddy” Red Corn
Head Singer: Russell Mashunkashey, son of veteran and past Post Commander John Henry Mashunkashey
2011 Princess: Rachel White, great-granddaughter of the late Ed Red Eagle, past post commander and daughter of veteran Chris White
Arena Directors: Otto Hamilton and Lance Harden
Master of Ceremonies: Eddy Red Eagle