by John Aldrich
The Veterans Ceremony on Sunday morning remains one of the most moving parts of the rug show. This year's event was no exception. We have been honored to have a Navajo Code Talker at the majority of ceremonies in recent years. Because of their advancing age and dwindling numbers it has become a challenge to find one who can make the journey to Park City for the event.
This year Howard and Beverly Benally answered the challenge by inviting Raymond Smith Jr. of Lupton, Arizona. Raymond is a veteran himself and the son of Code Talker Raymond Smith Sr., who passed away several years ago.
Here is Raymond with his wife Theresa and daughter Savannah:
From Raymond's talk we understand that his father was a man of great integrity, and a man in whose footsteps his son tries to walk. Integrity is a value we all need to embrace in our modern world.
Following Raymond's talk we had the prayers of the traditional Elders for all veterans and active military, and in closing, each of the veterans attending the ceremony was individually honored.
There were many vets in the audience, but to the best of my knowledge, this friend of LaRee White-Engel was the only one in full uniform: