Last night was the opening of the Comanche Fair. Held at the tribal headquarters north of Lawton, Oklahoma, it is dancing, eating, celebration, singing, camping (many in canvas teepees), contests, politiking, talking (in English and in Comanche), browsing vender booths--the national reunion of the Comanche people.

My wife and I went down last night to see the historical pageant, written and directed by a member of our church. It was made up of a series of tableau, tied together by the narration of a grandmother to her granddaughter. The pageant was performed on the grassy area just south of the monument to the Comanche Code-Talkers, which is just south of two rows of stone pillars inscribed with the names of all the Comanches who have served in the US Armed Forces. On the east side of the monuments is a tall flagpole with a large United States flag.

At the end of the evening, the Code-Talkers were honored. During WW2 the United States used tribal language speakers to transmit radio messages on the battlefield. While the Navaho servicemen are more famous, the Comanches served with distinction in Europe, going ashore on Utah Beach, June 6, 1944, and serving in the campaign until V-E Day. Ironic, that the government which had displaced them from their lands and sent their young people off to boarding schools in which they were forbidden to speak their language, received courageous service when duty called.

Fourteen Comanche men served in Europe as Code-Talkers, all now dead. They were represented last night by 14 spears, carried by women in traditional regalia. As the singers sang and drummed, their memories were honored by a "Scalp Song", danced by the women with the spears. After the song descendents of the Code-Talkers were invited into the circle to be honored.

The evening closed with the honoring of all Comanche service men and women, "our warriors" they were called. "War Journey Songs" were sung. A man in Comanche battle dress rode a horse into the light, leading a riderless horse. We all were asked to stand, face the American flag with our hands over our hearts, to honor flag and country.

The Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache in our area did not experience American expansion as an expansion of freedom. They will not celebrate Columbus Day. But, among them there is a love of America, mysterious as it is to me. Enlistment is high among these people and veterans are honored. We don't deserve such allies.