Calif. tribal veterans gather to honor sacrifice

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SANTA NELLA, Calif. (AP) — American Indian veterans wearing tribal dress gathered to honor the sacrifice of their fighting men and women in an emotional ceremony at a Central California cemetery.

Servicemen and women offered prayers, presented the colors and paid tribute to fallen heroes at the Memorial Day ceremony at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery on Sunday.

The Modesto Bee reports members of the American Indian Veterans Association of Fresno took center stage for the ceremonies.

Allen B. Clark, a former assistant secretary of veterans affairs, gave the keynote address praising the contributions of American Indian troops.

Clark, a former director of the National Cemetery Administration, said native people have served admirably in major conflicts, from the Oneida warriors’ contribution to the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 to the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.

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