WASHINGTON (News 4 & Fox 11) — Fifty Native American veterans from around the Great Basin were honored in Washington D.C. at this years Vietnam Veterans Memorial Veterans Day ceremony.
The veterans were taken to our nation's capital through Honor Flight Nevada on the nations first ever all-native Honor Flight trip.
"Each trip we pass the Native American Museum and point it out to the veterans and I wanted to see more of their culture," says Honor Flight Nevada founder Jon Yuspa. "Since moving to Nevada I have been welcomed into the Indian community and wanted to share my Honor Flight experiences with them."
At the Veterans Day ceremony, the native veterans were recognized within the first minute of the opening remarks and, later, laid a wreath in front of the memorial."
"It was great, we weren't last for a change," says veteran Grizz Hilpert who helped lay the wreath. "That sounds funny, but we're used to kind of being sent out back."
Retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey welcomed the Nevada veterans to the Veterans Day ceremony in Washington.
"They enlist in greater numbers than the rest of the population and they move to the front areas of the combat zone," says General McCaffrey. "They have suffered huge casualties, so there's a special debt of gratitude."
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund President Jim Knotts introduced the Honor Flight Nevada group to the crowd at the wall.
"Most Americans do not realize the contributions made by the Native Americans who served along side the military for hundreds of years in many different ways," says Knotts. "It is wonderful to have them here with us today."
The veterans were also taken to the National Museum of the American Indian, the World War II Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and many other places in and around Washington D.C. honoring their service during the Veterans Day weekend.