July 4th program, blast honor veterans
Lakota horseback riders from the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Cheyenne reservations, as well as non-Native American riders, will lead a July 4th ceremony at Crazy Horse Memorial to honor living and deceased military veterans. The public is invited to attend to the 9 a.m. program and to witness the mountain carving blast at 11 a.m.
The commemorative event starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as the group leaves their camp near the Crazy Horse entrance and rides to the honoring circle in the upper parking area overlooking the mountain carving. Each rider will have a flag presented by families wishing to honor their relative.
The ceremony will cap a 120-mile ride that started June 29 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by members of the A’ki’ci’ta Sung’akan O’kola’ki’ciye (Lakota for Warrior Horse Society) and the O’maka Tokatakiya (Future Generations) riders.
The July 4th prayer and singing program is a tribute to the Lakota Akicita and other modern warriors who served and are serving in the U.S.
armed forces. The latest Defense Department statistics report that American Indians have the highest per-capita military representation of any ethnic group.
The Memorial’s yearly July 4th mountain blast at 11 a.m. honors the continuing commitment of Native Americans to their historic cultural customs, and salutes all veterans and the current defenders of freedom in memory of Crazy Horse sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, a decorated World War II Army sergeant.