A new veteran's memorial sculpture is set to be completed in Fort Washakie this summer. Organizers are asking for the public's help identifying veterans who have roots on the Wind River Reservation.
The memorial, called the "Path of Honor," will take the form of a garden walkway outside of the Frank B. Wise Business Plaza. Scott Ratliff of the Wind River Veterans Memorial Project said it will include 4 large stones, each representing a different era of military conflicts that Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone people have served in.
"These four stones, when you're standing about 25 feet from them, make the shape of a buffalo. And the buffalo has always been an important part of the [Plains Native] culture and survival," Ratliff said.
The stones will include the names of any Native or non-Native veterans who have ever lived within the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation, including in the city of Riverton.
A citizen of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and a Vietnam veteran himself, Ratliff said the memorial will pay homage to the Wind River Reservation's rich military history.
"Percentage wise, [Native people] enlist at a far higher rate, higher than any other nationality in the nation," Ratliff said. "So to me, it's saying thank you to those people. Plus, it's one more good reason to visit Fremont County and the Wind River Reservation."
Organizers have been accepting donations since March of 2019 and have raised around $220,000 for the project, according to Ratliff. They expect to raise the remaining $30,000 necessary to complete the project in the coming months and host a ribbon-cutting ceremony by July of this year.
Veterans or family of veterans, including those currently serving, can submit names for inclusion via the WRR Vet Memorial Facebook page or by calling 307-620-5300. The deadline for submission is February 7.
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