Seventeen tribal nation flags flew on Omaha Beach in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Many from Indian Country who attended the weeklong celebration shared their memories and their travels to France on social media. Some reacted to the day with photos to honor veterans who sacrificed their lives that day.
Angel Young, a U.S. Army veteran, carried the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara flag in honor of her father, “the Late Robert Montclair.” He served in the U.S. Army.
The Standing Rock Sioux citizen couldn’t find her tribal flag so she took her dad’s to the shores.
Young recalled 14 of the 17 flags: Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Menominee Indian Tribe, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Tohono O’odham Nation, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Seneca Nation of Indians, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara.
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Even Chairman Jamie Azure recognized the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians flag in a tweet.
Young shared more photos of her time in Normandy.
Michela Fay Alire also held one of the flags during the ceremony.
Alire honored one of the identified Native veterans who was killed in action on D-Day.
Rodney Sisson shared photos of his time on the beach for the ceremony to recognize Native veterans in the war.
He wrote, “I can only hope that these photos express the pride we feel honoring the toughest SOB's to ever go to battle.”
Part of the general’s speech before the battle 75 years ago went along the lines of “There only two kinda men on this beach today, those who have died, and those that are going to die.”
“AlI I know is that the freedom I feel today stings way more then just a few days ago,” said Sisson.
Another photo that is being shared is of Marcella LeBeau, Oohenumpa Lakota. LeBeau, an Eagle Butte resident, served as a nurse in the 76th general hospital unit.
She received the French Legion of Honor award on the 60th anniversary of Normandy.
The two photos that have been spread widely in the past week is a photo of Acting Sgt. Jake McNiece, Choctaw, and another of him with Clarence Ware applying face paint onto McNiece. They were part of the “Filthy Thirteen.”
McNiece was a paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army. It is said that he inspired the division to cut their hair into Mohawks and paint their faces before the Great Crusade. McNiece survived. He died in 2013 at the age of 93.
Here is a color version of the photo.