Bois Forte Band Of Chippewa Dedicates Vets Memorial

By KBJR News 1

May 31, 2011 Updated May 31, 2011 at 9:34 AM CDT

Nett Lake, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - A memorial recognizing their service was dedicated on the reservation today.

The threat of rain and an over cast day didn't deter community members of Nett Lake and surrounding areas from coming out to pay tribute to those who have served their country.

"Our uncles that served in World War II and I have relatives that served in Vietnam," said June Columbus.

A veterans memorial four years in the making was unveiled Monday in honor of those in the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa who answered the call of duty.

"We wanted a lasting memorial where people are reminded everyday and that's why it's located right outside our government and community building here in Nett Lake," said Tribal Chair Kevin Leecy.

The memorial was designed by Elders of the band and veteran groups, as well as architectural and construction contractors.

Four sets of plaques surround the memorial, each set represents a branch of the armed forces.

Nearly 400 names are carved onto their respective plaques, which are made from Mesabi black granite.

The memorial also pays tribute to those in the service who haven't come home yet.

Veterans in attendance at the Memorial Day dedication say it will be good having this memorial here for future generations.

"I think it was awesome. I like that memorial because I see all the names up there of the people that was in it (the war) and I hope that future generations will like it too," said Bill Light, who is one of two remaining World War II veterans with the band.

"I was happy...then again it opened little wounds but it did a lot of healing also and I am sure it did a lot of healing for a lot of the veterans," said Vietnam veteran Gene Goodsky.

Tribal Chair Leecy says around 25 percent of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa have served in the military.