|Ruben Ramirez, 86, holds photographs of himself and others while serving in Italy during World War II. Ramirez, an American Indian, is undergoing treatment for PTSD. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee)|
“Ruben Ramirez earned a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts as a World War II infantryman fighting Nazi troops in North Africa and Italy. The physical wounds he sustained in combat eventually healed. Not so his emotional injuries.
To this day, Ramirez, 86, a retired diesel mechanic and American Indian who traces his roots to the Apache nation, is tormented by recurrent nightmares of having witnessed his buddies being blown apart. He gets out of bed every few hours to patrol the perimeter of his house in Fresno.”
While visiting the absolutely beautiful City of St. George, Utah yesterday, I was reminded of our rich Native American history, including my own Lakota blood lines from my Great-Grandmother, Mattie Sparks, who was half Lakota. You could see Native American in my Grandfather, Art, and his brothers, but not so much with our Dad and my siblings because of our Norwegian & German heritage. I can say we are all proud to be of Native American heritage! I love the American Indian Great Plains flute music for starters, and really enjoyed the variety of Native American art displayed in the galleries around St. George.
Native Americans have always served in the U.S. Armed Forces and continue to do so. We can learn how to help our warriors returning home to life after war by looking back at the way Native American tribes and communities cared for their own warriors long ago. One of my favorite reads as a reference is War and the Soul, by Dr. Edward Tick, which can be purchased from this website along with my own book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. When warriors returned from battle with other tribes of the past, the entire tribal community surrounded them with love and “soul-feeding” to help them readjust to life after war. This kind of loving care and attention was part of the Native American culture. In modern America we struggle with caring for our warriors at the local level where veterans return home to life after war. My recommendation is to learn from the experience of our Native American heritage to help us do a better job of caring for our veterans returning home from war today.
Honor Native American warriors along with American veterans of all wars…
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story