Who could imagine the sound of enemy fire would signal the last rites for our honored dead? In what may be among the most ironic acts of official neglect and insensitivity of the past seven decades, the Russian SKS rifle is now used in ceremonial service by some honor guards as the last sound our Native American veterans and their families hear as veterans are laid to rest across South Dakota. It is an act of omission and ignorance.
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. The Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova 1945 was semi-retired in the early 1950s, replaced with the indestructible AK-47. Both rifles continue in service today, in mostly enemy armies. Untold numbers of our soldiers have died and are dying at the hands of enemy soldiers armed with these formidable weapons.
Properly burying and honoring our war veterans is a sacred responsibility. Building a new national cemetery at Pine Ridge this year generated some controversy and cost more than $6 million. The government thought it was a nice gesture. Some veterans wanted it. Some did not.
But the decision to lay down the bodies of our beloved veterans to the sound of Soviet military arms is not controversial. It is outrageous.
This is an excerpt from this article.
Image courtesy leadnation.com