I grew up greatly admiring all those who have served in the Armed Forces. I knew that many Native Americans (including my father and uncles) had served this country with distinct honor and fulfilled their call of duty.
It was the winter of 1979, and my wife Kathy and I were rejoicing in the birth of our first-born son. We named him Nathaniel Ara Ross. I was working in a factory on night shift to make ends meet. At night when I came home, I would check on Nathaniel. Those precious days were filled with joy and wonder.
My name is Jack Cochise. My birth place and home is the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico. My grandmother was Amelia Naiche, daughter of the great Apache leader Naiche.
When I smell the smoke from the wood fire in the winter, it reminds me of the times when I was a little boy living in our hogan. It was during the winter season that the stories of the elders were passed down to the younger generation. I would listen to my grandfather teach us the history and ways of our people. Now I am an elder, and it is my responsibility to pass along the important truths for this life and the life to come.
In San Carlos, Arizona, where I was born and raised, many of the Apache have a certain place where they go every Sunday to worship. They call this “holy ground.” There the people sing until noon, and then they eat together. Afterwards they pray and instruct the people, young and old, much as it is done in Sunday schools and churches.
My name is Roy Hawthorne. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation. I am honored to have served my country through my military service in both World War II and the Korean War. I volunteered to serve in an elite group known as the Navajo Code Talkers.