Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota
Canku Ota Logo
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
pictograph divider
Respecting The Fallen: Army of Volunteers Tidies Up Vet Cemetery
by Shondiin Silversmith - Navajo Times
credits: photos by Shondiin Silversmith - Navajo Times

FORT DEFIANCE, AZ — Armed with weed whackers, shovels, rakes and gloves, over a dozen people marched into the Fort Defiance Veterans Cemetery Friday with one mission: clean it up.

As a way to show their fellow veterans they are not forgotten, members of the Tsehootsooi Twin Warrior Society banded together to host the all-day clean-up.

The Tsehootsooi Twin Warrior Society started in 1989. It was named "Twin Warrior Society" to honor both male and female veterans, said Bill Watchmen, society member and a U.S. Army veteran.

Society member Eugene Atcitty, U.S. Navy veteran, said the event was hosted because the veterans who have been buried at cemetery, and all veterans past and present, are very important.

"There is love there for their fellow comrades," Atcitty said. He added it was nice seeing all the people come out and clean the cemetery, not only cleaning their family's graves but those of other families.

"We are living in a country where people died for our freedom," Atcitty added.

Earl W. Milford, society member and U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, said being able to clean up the grave sites for fellow veterans makes him feel better because when he returned from the war he suffered from survivors' guilt, always asking why he came back and others didn't.

"To this day I still get feelings of survivors' guilt and working here in a way makes me feel better that they're not forgotten, that I'm doing something," Milford said, adding that whenever the Twin Warrior Society does a burial for a fellow comrade he likes to remind them of a saying from an unknown soldier in World War II, "I am not afraid to die for my country, but I am afraid to be forgotten."

Pulling out tumbleweed after tumbleweed, the clean-up volunteers showed their respect for each fallen warrior by cleaning up his or her resting place.

"I think it's the right thing to do to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, for our freedom," said Pastor Lance Hawley, who served in the U.S. Army during peace time, adding that this is a way to help keep these soldiers' memory alive.

"It makes me feel proud that I have brothers in arms. I may not know them by name or by face but they're veterans like I am, and they were willing to give up themselves and I'm willing to do what I can to pay it back," Hawley added.

pictograph divider
Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us
Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us
pictograph divider
  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000 - 2013 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.
Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo
The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the
Copyright © 1999 - 2013 of Paul C. Barry.
All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!