Memorial Day

Lives lost, blood shed for this Memorial Day

Published May 26, 2023

By Chief Gary Batton

Audio in Choctaw Language


As we take time out to remember Memorial Day here at the Choctaw Nation, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what this day means and why we must remember the sacrifice for our freedoms.

As a proud Choctaw and American, the sacrifices of those who came before us are immense. Our plot of soil here in Oklahoma came from the sacrifices of our ancestors, and we honor them by maintaining our sovereignty and living out the Chahta Spirit of Faith, Family, and Culture. We honor the sacrifices made by so many which enable us to have the liberties and freedoms we enjoy as well as our God-given right to exist as a Nation.

As Americans those rights are afforded to us by the sacrifice that our fellow citizens make when they fight for our freedom and our way of life. We know our country may struggle sometimes but it is still the best country to live in with the opportunity to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If this land of opportunity is important to you, say Yakoke to a Veteran and remember the fallen soldiers who have lain down their lives to give you those freedoms. America’s freedoms are not free; our freedoms have been earned through lives lost and bloodshed.

At any opportunity we can, the Choctaw Nation has answered the call to honor our military and we will continue to do so. Our expression of gratitude to the military is a small price to pay for the sacrifices of our Veterans and fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day dates to the Civil War when a fractured America was trying to heal, and citizens came together to place flowers on the graves of those killed in battle. Too often, we live our lives and see a vacation day on the calendar and do not remember the real reason for this day. Memorial Day offers us a chance to reflect on countless individuals who served and lost their lives defending the communities and families left behind.

Instead of celebrating the unofficial beginning of summer, why not take a moment to remember the real reason for this day. The real reason why you have the freedom and life you have right now – it was paid for by the sacrifice of a brave soldier who fought for and died for your freedoms.

Yakoke and God Bless!