Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 12, 2013

Banquet pays tribute to service

Speakers said many people these days don’t understand the military

TAHLEQUAH — Veterans Day is a time for people across the country to remember those who served in the past, or are actively involved in the military to protect U.S. values.

Parades, banquets and other events are held in Cherokee County and across the country to honor veterans, but numbers show fewer people are joining the military, and even fewer know much about the nation’s servicemen and women.

Alex Borowski, a retired Air Force sergeant and organizer of the 23rd Annual Veterans Appreciation Banquet, recalled a time when he was at an area restaurant and wearing his “Class A,” which is dress uniform. A young woman walked up to him and asked what kind of uniform he was wearing. A similar incident occurred near the same time in another city.

Borowski said 11.2 percent of the country’s population served in the military during the World War II era, but now, fewer than half a percent are in the ranks.

“Fewer and fewer are shouldering more of the burden,” he said referencing a writing by Gen. David Petraeus after the general had been accepted into the military academy.

Jim Wilson, former state senator and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said the military was desperate for people when his father, a World War II veteran, graduated from the University of Wisconsin.

“They sent him his uniform in the mail,” Wilson told those in attendance at the banquet. “The chief took him into a bathroom and taught him how to salute. That was his training.”

Wilson, a Vietnam veteran, said the American people didn’t really understand why the U.S. was fighting in Vietnam – and the men and women there in the military didn’t understand, either.

“We saw some things no 18-, 19-year-olds should see,” he said.

The banquet is held each year just before the Veterans Day holiday. Borowski, Sheila Ratliff and Cynthia Myhre took over organization of the event after the original organizer, Chimp Robertson, left Tahlequah.

Borowski followed up Wilson’s comments by saying many people don’t understand the military, period.

“It’s out of sight, out of mind,” he said. “How many people recall [retired CBS newsman] Walter Cronkite telling us each evening how many men and women we lost each day in Vietnam?”

Several in attendance raised their hands, indicating they recalled Cronkite’s newscasts.

Far fewer said they recalled hearing anything about 18 U.S. military personnel being killed last week in Afghanistan.

Billie Walker, a member of the local Blue Star Mothers, said the group is currently sending care packages to 150 servicemen and women. She said the group is solely dependent on donations. Walker said the group has been given storage space to keep the items it receives for donations.

Becky Blake, a representative of Gold Star Mothers, spoke briefly about her son, Caleb Nathaniel Blake. Caleb was a twin, and he and his brother, Curtis Samuel Blake, were born on President’s Day in 1987.

She said Caleb volunteered for the U.S. Air Force after his high school graduation in 2005.

Caleb died in a collision with a bus in 2008, but Becky said she still has plenty of fond memories of him – including a time when he asked her to march with him. She said Caleb was always proud of his country and his service in the Air Force.

T.J. Spears, who has been a regular at the banquet for years, performed patriotic songs to entertain those in attendance.

State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, spoke briefly to give thanks to all veterans, including his father. He offered his assistance at the state capitol when needed.

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014

  • Briggs.jpg Local man hit with assault, burglary charges

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
    Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
    Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
    Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.

    April 16, 2014

  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge