March 20, 2008

Piestewa memorial room

Family Remembers Iraq War's First Female CasualtyThe room is jammed full of symbolic keepsakes, including a green Miss Junior High Indian Princess crown, mounted caribou antlers sent from Alaska, three woven "burden baskets" from the Apache people and a big brown stuffed Teddy bear.

The memorial room in the home of Terry and Priscilla "Percy" Piestewa is kept locked and no photography is allowed. In this sanctuary, the Piestewas and their two grandchildren, Brandon, 9, and Carla, 8, pay tribute to the memory of Lori, the daughter and mother they loved so well.

Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, was killed March 23 during an ambush in Nasiriyah in the first days of the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces and their allies.
And:Lori, a member of the Hopi tribe, was the first American Indian woman to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military.

Reminders of Lori's service are everywhere in the special room, included a large wall replica of the badge of the 507th Maintenance Company, in which she served in supply for two years, keeping track of Scud missile parts and other equipment.

"It's just so honoring and humbling, all the tribes in our country who have recognized Lori," her father said. "They claim her as one of their own."

A glass cabinet holds three triangular folded American flags, Purple Heart and Iraq War medals and, perhaps most poignant, a leather wallet with her Army photo, removed from her body before it was hastily buried outside a Nasiriyah civilian hospital after her death from head wounds.

Now one of the most celebrated soldiers among Arizona war casualties, with both a Phoenix mountain peak and a freeway renamed in her honor, her parents said their daughter didn't like attention.
Comment:  As I said before, when Americans honor an Indian who fought against the system, not for it, then I'll believe they're truly sincere.

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