The Tribe’s 10th annual Veterans Day parade featured 40 entries, including the Choctaw Health Center float, above. The theme was “Choctaw Veterans: Serving at Home and Around the World.” A program followed with speeches by Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and J.R. Jones, a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs who spends his time educating veterans on their benefits. A Veterans Pow Wow was held Friday through Sunday at Pearl River.
The Tribe’s 10th annual Veterans Day parade featured 40 entries, including the Choctaw Health Center float, above. The theme was “Choctaw Veterans: Serving at Home and Around the World.” A program followed with speeches by Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and J.R. Jones, a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs who spends his time educating veterans on their benefits. A Veterans Pow Wow was held Friday through Sunday at Pearl River.
Veterans of all wars were remembered in Veterans Day programs in DeWitt DeWeese Park and on the Pearl River Reservation.

Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson said she was honored to pay tribute to Tribal heroes and their families during a program Saturday near the Veterans Memorial Wall on the reservation.

The program followed a Veterans Day parade with 40 entries along Blackjack Road.

Truitt Breazeale, a retired Army veteran with 30 years of active duty, told a crowd gathered in DeWeese Park Monday morning that all the heroes deserved "our gratitude and appreciation" for their service.

Numerous Tribal veterans, in uniform, were also on hand as part of the event on the reservation.

Chief Anderson thanked them all for their service.

She noted that there were still soldiers who have yet to return home.

"From the bottom of my heart I say thank you," she said.

Anderson said it wasn't just the soldiers who sacrifice but their families as well.

"It takes a united effort from all parties, all partners involved, to have your spouse serve in the military," she said. "It takes courage, pride and determination."

J.R. Jones, a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs who spends his time educating veterans on their benefits, followed Anderson and spoke of the significance of Veterans Day. He thanked them for their service.

"We thank you for fighting the fight for freedom," he said. "We thank you for being the pride of the USA."

He reminded those in attendance that Veterans Day is not just a day off from work.

"It is a day reminding us who has served and who is still serving today," he said.

Breazeale told those at the program in DeWeese Park Monday that he would never forget the date Nov. 3, 1969.

He was on his second tour in Vietnam.

"It was around midnight and it seemed like the world was falling in on us," he said. "I have no doubt that if everyone could go through this, they would never doubt the existence of God. I know I would not have survived that night without Him being by my side."

Breazeale said the following morning, he had to take a group around the fire base.

"This was my first casualties of the war to see. We found three north Vietnamese' bodies."

Breazeale returned to Vietnam , 42 years after his service there.

"I did not have to fear being shot at, working 24-seven, not having hot food, running water."

He along with four combat buddies visited two places during the trip where they were stationed on the ground during the war.

"Nothing looked the same," Breazeale said. "There were no bunkers, barbed wire or soldiers walking around with loaded rifles. The only thing faintly familiar was the air stripe at each place and the mountains in the distance."

Cecil Hooker served as master of ceremonies of Monday's program. Mike Calvert sang the national anthem. The Neshoba Central Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp presented the colors. Several veterans' organizations placed wreaths at the Veterans Monument. Allie Burt played taps.