Native Sun News Today: Pine Ridge school honors tribal veterans

Veterans at a powwow on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Hamner Fotos

A special Veterans Day at Pine Ridge High School
By Native Sun News Today Staff

PINE RIDGE –– Marine Corps veterans Tom and Chuck Conroy set out to make Veteran’s Day special not only for the veterans assembled at Pine Ridge High School on November 10, but for the nearly 200 high school students in attendance.

Tom Conroy, the man who called the sports games for the Pine Ridge High School Thorpes for so many years, MC’D the event like the sports and rodeo announcer he is. While moving things along he cracked jokes and kept the crowd attentive and at ease.

Chuck Conroy was very emotional and had every right to be. He fought in one of the most vicious battles of the Vietnam War at Khe San. When handed the mike he was silent and he turned and handed the mike to Keynote Speaker Tim Giago.

Giago spoke for Conroy when he said, “I hope all of you students take the time to get a book and read about Khe San. Chuck was there and lived through it so I can understand his emotions.”

Giago told the students that many of them would probably be serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. Talking about his own experiences in Korea he said that he was proud to serve. He told the students about how many of the veterans returned home and used the GI Bill to get a higher education and many of them brought their degrees back home and went to work as teachers, and some of them even went into politics.

He said, “I got a degree in journalism and came home and built a newspaper right here in Pine Ridge Village on Main Street in a building I rented from Francis Shangreau. The paper went on to become the largest weekly newspaper in South Dakota so you see how important the GI Bill was to returning veterans.”

Giago paid a tribute to two of his veteran friends who died this year, Aloysius “Roch” Red Elk and the former President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Wilbur Between Lodges.

Shawnee Red Bear, a young veteran of the Marine Corps who served in Afghanistan, encouraged the students to stand tall and be proud of their heritage. She presented herself as a very positive role model for the young Lakota boys and girls in attendance that day.

A special tribute was given to SPC Tevin Tyon who lost his life in Afghanistan.

In a closing prayer given by Pine Ridge High School Principal Mike Carlow he said, “Tunkasila, We ask that you watch over all of our Veterans and their families. We ask that with your wisdom you guide and protect them. Pilamaya. Today and every day we honor our Veterans and their families.”

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