Oneida Nation Honors All
Recognition Ceremony Salutes All Veterans
Army. Navy. Air Force. Marines.
Veterans from each branch of the military joined with friends and relatives to celebrate service men and women at the Oneida Nation’s annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony held at Turning Stone Resort Casino. Donning uniforms or their civvies, veterans and their guests swelled the ranks of attendees at the ceremony to more than 500.
Command Sergeant Major John F. McNeirney, Fort Drum Garrison Command Sergeant Major, provided the keynote address at the breakfast event. Enlisting in 1986, he has been part of combat operations in Iraq, Somalia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and is the recipient of numerous badges and awards including the Bronze Star Medal.
In his speech, McNeirney noted that American Indians have the highest enlistment rate of all ethnic groups, adding:
“These great warriors have served our nation well… and demonstrated our core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
“All of those values demonstrated by the Oneida Indian Nation, our First Allies. History tells us that in 1794 the Oneida Nation pledged support to the newly formed American Continental Army and provided unwavering support even when faced with the destruction of their villages and the death of their families the Oneida remained loyal to their word.
“To see examples of selfless service, personal courage and duty we only need mention Polly Cooper, who is a sterling example of the Oneida people. According to oral tradition, Polly Cooper was a member of the relief mission of the Oneidas sent with hundreds of bushels of white corn to help feed the starving American Army at Valley Forge. Demonstrating warrior ethos of ‘I will never quit and I will never leave a fallen comrade,’ these brave Oneidas walked hundreds of miles from Central New York to Valley Forge through the bitter cold of winter to aid their fellow warriors. It is allies like the Oneida that I am grateful for.”
The Oneida Nation holds the annual recognition ceremony to honor all veterans, never forgetting the indelible mark its own Oneida People have made in the fight for freedom from the War for Independence to the present-day wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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