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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: May 28, 2008

by Tony Choate

  • Chickasaw World War II veterans visited the World War II Memorial and many other historic sites on their trip to observe Memorial Day in Washington D.C. Front row, left to right are Earnest Guess, Robert Wallace, Theron Price, Sim Greenwood, James Harlin and William Nelson. Back row, left to right are Robert Nichols, Floyd Shipman, Beaulah Shavney, Donald Clark, Jack Whitfield, William Johnston, Wallace Dawkins and Robert Ream.

Bustling activity at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. slowed to a standstill and a hush fell over the crowd as 14 veterans of that war gathered for a group photo.

Many of those in attendance were moved to tears as they witnessed memorial visitors of all ages showing such profound respect for the veterans.

That experience was one of many moving moments the Chickasaw veterans and others encountered during their observance of Memorial Day in our nation's capitol.

A crew member announcement that a group of World War II veterans from the Chickasaw Nation was aboard the flight to Washington D. C. was met with a thunderous round of applause.

Charles Blackwell, Chickasaw Ambassador to the United States, officially welcomed the group to Washington.

"The main thing I want to tell you, on behalf of Governor Anoatubby, is that we are really proud and grateful for your service," he said.

That official expression of appreciation was followed by dozens of informal declarations of gratitude from veterans, soldiers, sailors and others.

"The greatest honor that I, as a World War II veteran have ever had, is this trip," said

Wallace Dawkins, an Army veteran now living in West Monroe, Louisiana.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the trip was funded to show appreciation for the sacrifices the veterans made for our country.

"This world is truly a much better place because of what these individuals have done," said Gov. Anoatubby. "Anything we do for them can never repay what they have done for us."

William Johnston, an Army veteran now living in Milo, Oklahoma, said that he was impressed with the number of people who did not know him, but would come up and shake his hand and thank him for his service.

In addition to the World War II Memorial, the group also visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery among other historic sites.

Many veterans said sharing the experience of observing Memorial Day in Washington D.C. with so many others who had served in World War II was exceptionally meaningful.

Most of those in attendance were visibly moved during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Those who joined the group of veterans on the trip were also moved to tears more than once. Each agreed that being around these individuals was ample evidence they truly were part of the greatest generation.

James Harlin, who was a waist gunner in a B-17 bomber, spoke of his plane being hit by enemy fire as if it was a routine experience.

"We got shot up a few times, but we always made it back," he said as if he was talking about a trip to the grocery store.

Everyone in the room was moved to tears as Sim Greenwood, who was a medic, visibly held back his own tears as he told about training to be a rifleman because felt like he "wasn't doing enough."

World War II veterans who made the trip include Donald Clark, Mill Creek, Okla.; Wallace Dawkins, West Monroe, Louisiana; Earnest Guess, Purcell, Okla.; Sim Greenwood, Ada; James Harlin, Ardmore, Okla.; William Johnston, Milo, Okla.; William Nelson, Ardmore, Okla.; Robert Nichols, Pauls Valley, Okla.; Theron Price, Lone Grove, Okla.; Robert Ream, Wichita, Kan.; Beaulah Shavney, Ada, Okla.; Floyd Shipman, Sulphur, Okla.; Robert Wallace, Purcell Okla.; Jack Whitfield, Loco, Okla.; Marion Whitfield, Comanche, Okla.