Conference of Native American Veterans — 5* Pix

Total Shots taken 572
Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %) 10  (1.7 %)

 

I got the email several weeks before the event, announcing the celebration of Native American Veterans to be held August 20 in a nearby Chicago suburb.  My thought:  Photography Excursion!

The location:  Cantigny Park, Wheaton IL.  All branches of the military were included, including the Coast Guard, representing wars from the Korean War, Vietnam and today’s battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Dignitaries and military leaders from the Pentagon and nearby Great Lakes Naval Base also attended.

I didn’t really know what to expect, soI looked up the event to get a better sense of the agenda (thank you Google!).  I waked around on my own, tried not to get in the way of the cadre of event photographers there, and just enjoyed the celebration.  Hope you enjoy these 5* images.

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  • Marching In – The event opened with  the procession of veterans entering the tent where the ceremonies were to take place.  I love this image showing the veterans  moving almost in unison, resulting from years of marching in step with comrades in arms.   In the tent, they introduced themselves, stated their branch and time of service — some carried a flag to the stand.

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  • POW-MIA – Several veterans carried the POW-MIA flag, recognizing those who did not come home to their families, friends, and communities.  The POW-MIA flag was created by the National League of Families  as a symbol of citizen concern about United States military personnel taken as prisoners of war (POWs) or listed as missing in action (MIA), and was officially recognized in conjunction with Vietnam War (source: Wikipedia).  It remains a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still imprisoned, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.

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  • Celebrating Vietnam Era Vets – This was one of the most moving elements of the program. Once the veterans has marched in, and introduced themselves individually, the emcee called for all Vietnam era veterans to stand in the center, and all other veterans would encircle them, creating a circle of honor.  Then, one-by one, they were called to the front, and a current military leader pinned  a Vietnam War Veteran pin on the Veteran, thanking them formally  for their service.  This great honor was in direct contrast to the reception they may have experienced on their return from Vietnam after their period of service.

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  • Adjusting the Display – After their entrance, veterans placed flags in the ceremonial flag stand. In this image, one veteran adjusted the flags, making the display fuller.  This veteran’s native garb is copiously adorned with heritage, military and patriotic symbols.

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  • Eagle: Ceremonial Topper – Ceremonial flags may be adorned – sometimes they have gold fringe on them. Several of these have golden eagle figures as a topper.  I noticed this eagle topper, and how natural and realistic it looked.  When I looked closer, I realized WHY it looked so realistic – it was REAL. 

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  • The Regal Crowd – I loved the fact that many of the veterans wore Native American garments, from medicine wheels with feathers, headdresses, woven vests, hats or other hair ornaments.

I am so glad I took the opportunity to attend this celebration!  Note to self  for the next time — make a way to connect with the attendees — leverage the bird’s eye view the camera opens.  There was character and history written in the faces of these veterans that I did not  explore because I didn’t take the opportunity to bridge the gap. The event was a wonderful mix of celebrating our country’s heritage and celebrating our veterans.  I was glad to be there, and I look forward to next time feeling less like a spectator, and more like a participant.  I hope you enjoy these 5* selections!

2 thoughts on “Conference of Native American Veterans — 5* Pix

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