Nations to come together in remembrance of fatal AT6 crashes 75 years ago
Representatives of the United Kingdom, The Royal Air Force, Choctaw Nation, Rattan School, VFW, #1 BFTS Museum, and community members are marking the 75th anniversary of the crashes of two AT6 aircraft. It was carrying students of the #1 British Flying Training School. A memorial ceremony is at 2:00 pm Sunday (Feb 18) at the monument site in the Kiamichi Mountains of Pushmataha County. It is at Moyers School, 185413 N 4142 Road, off State Highway 2, nine miles north of Antlers, Oklahoma. Shuttles will be on hand beginning at 12:00 p.m. to bring visitors to the monument site. A reception will follow at the Choctaw Nation Community Center, 302 SW O St. in Antlers. If the weather is an issue, the entire event will be held at the community center beginning at 2:00 pm. For more information, call 800-522-6170, ext. 2245 or 2586.
Photo by Apryl Mock / Choctaw Nation
A sculpture of the official Choctaw Nation seal is a gift that proves everything old is new again. At the presentation are, from left, Durant Recycling Manager Jason Lilley, Director of Project Management Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Jeff Barnett, Chief Gary Batton, Ethan Powell, Jordan Powell, Christine Powell, Andy Powell and Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr.
It is made entirely of recycled container caps, such as laundry soap and milk jugs, the original artwork was created in gratitude by the Powell family to the Choctaw Nation for its help in providing medical care and educational support. The art project took family members four years to complete.
Choctaw Nation Honors Veterans with Vehicle Tags
DURANT, Okla. – By the Choctaw Nation’s long-standing mission to honor military service members, Choctaw veterans are now eligible to receive special tags for their vehicles.
“Veterans and their families have made great sacrifices for the freedoms we take for granted,” said Chief Gary Batton. “This is just a small way of showing our Choctaw veterans that we appreciate them, and their sacrifices aren’t going unnoticed.”
Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr. Austin, who understands the importance of this effort by the tribe, spearheaded the Veteran Tags project.
“Traditionally speaking, we as Choctaws honor veterans, holding them in high esteem. They are warriors or protectors that give so much of themselves for our freedom,” said Austin. “As a veteran myself, I understand our veterans’ sacrifice of time away from their families, friends, and homes.”
The idea came to Austin after visiting a tribal facility.
“I was at one of our travel plazas one day,” said Austin. “I saw a veteran getting out of his car parked in one of our designated Veterans Parking spots. I had an opportunity to strike up a conversation with him and had a great time visiting. On my way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about my visit and how he had inspired me. Seeing a car in front of me with our tribal tag, it hit me to research a veteran tag for Choctaw veterans.”
Austin is passionate about this new program and hopes Choctaw veterans will enjoy having these tags as well.
“The tag was important for me to accomplish from an honoring perspective. I hope our veterans are proud of the recognition,” said Austin.
Brent Oakes, Choctaw Community Services Senior Director, assisted in the design of the new tags.
The tag design features the Tvshka Homma (Red Warrior) statue. The plates show the crossed flags of the Choctaw Nation and the United States. They both symbolize a merge of the two nations. According to Oakes, the design signifies the strength of Choctaw veterans and their pride of being both Choctaw and American.
Oakes feels it is essential to show veterans how much their service is appreciated. The Choctaw Nation wants to honor veterans in any way we can, he noted, from establishing preferred Choctaw Veteran parking spots at facilities to giving out Choctaw Veteran jackets. With the new license plates, we are providing them “a way to display their pride of being a Choctaw veteran,” he said.
To Get a Choctaw Veteran Tag
The process and pricing for a Choctaw Veteran Tag are the same as purchasing any tribal tag, with a few added steps. The plates are now available by request through Oklahoma tag agencies. They are “specialty tags,” so will not be available for same-day pickup. Tags must be ordered in advance to receive them by their tag renewal deadline date.
To receive a Choctaw Veteran Tag the veteran must be an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and provide all of the usual documentation necessary to obtain a car tag. Also, an applicant must show a tribal membership ID and a military ID or DD214 papers.
Cost of the tag will be the same as the applicant’s regular tribal tag, and a $3 mailing fee also must be paid, according to the Durant Tag Agency. There is an additional $9 fee charged if an individual already has their vehicle tagged, but wants to replace it with a new Choctaw Veteran Tag.