Now Everyone Who Died There will be Commemorated
In 1991 the Custer Battlefield National Monument, in Montana, was renamed the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument to reflect the fact that not one but two groups of Americans fought there in 1876. A dozen years later the process of reconciliation continues. On June 25, the 127th anniversary of the battle, the National Park Service will dedicate a memorial in recognition of the Indians who died on both sides. In keeping with the official theme of “Peace Through Unity,” a walkway will connect the Indian memorial with the obelisk that already commemorates Custer’s 7th Cavalry, and a traditional “spirit gate” will serve, according to the NPS, “to welcome the Cavalry dead and to symbolize the mutual understanding of the infinite that all the dead possess.” The living have yet to achieve that understanding, which is why, at press time, today’s 7th Cavalry was serving in Iraq (with great distinction). Whatever the outcome of that conflict, surely everyone can hope that it will not take 127 years for descendants of the two sides to coexist in peace and jointly mourn their forebears.
For information on the Little Bighorn site and the Indian memorial, see