The voice of the lead Red Drum Singer, Terrell Anquoe, carried throughout Veteran Memorial Park on Saturday as he announced the next song.
“This song is for you,” he said to the veterans gathered in the park for the third annual Veterans Pow Wow. Anquoe reminded the crowd, “When you say your prayers at night, or during the day, or whenever you do, make sure to mention them.”
As the song begun, participants in full Native American regalia entered the circle and danced around a small black blanket with a POW/MIA logo on it.
Folks had been invited to enter the circle and place cash donations on it while the Red Drum Singers sang a song composed by Anquoe’s grandfather.
“It’s a Desert Storm song,” he later explained. “It’s in honor of the boys who fought in Desert Storm, written for his grandson.”
A “blanket dance” is a way of raising money for anyone in need. This blanket dance was held for the organizers of the Pow Wow for the help of veterans in need.
It was one of the many ceremonies performed over the three-day event that honor veterans, the nations warriors.
“It’s going great,” said Henry Lee, an organizer of the event. “We’ve had a great turnout. The majority are vets.”
Other rituals included a table ceremony honoring prisoners of war or those missing in action, a grand entry of performers and a dance where all veterans were invited to participate.
“I want you to come in and fall behind your brothers-in-arms, come in and dance with your brothers,” announced Anquoe.
Brooke Davis, of Winston-Salem, and Charles Cleaver, of Carthage, joined in.
“It’s fun,” Davis said.
One of the veterans in attendance, A.C. McMillian, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in Khe Sanh, Vietnam. He received medical retirement in 1971, having spent three years in the hospital and 28 days in a coma.
McMillian said he came to the Pow Wow for spiritual healing after his brother’s recent death and had participated in a cleansing sage ceremony.
“If you believe, anything is possible,” he said. “I believe spiritual healing has gotten me through this thing with my brother.”
In addition to Native American craft vendors, local veterans organizations were on hand.
“I guess we could be doing better with contributions,” said Richard Bradwell, a representative of the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans.
“We’re working on being able to do more to help veterans but we definitely need resources to do that.”
A mobile “Vet Center” staffed with counselors from regional Veterans Affairs offices was set up on Saturday.
“We want to go where we can find veterans to answer questions and alleviate their stress and anxiety with the system,” Ron Thomas, of Greensboro explained.
Thomas noted that while there are no “out-of-pocket” fees for their services, it’s not free.
“We don’t like that word,” he said. “They paid for it.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.