We have been making our Grateful Nation blanket for most of a decade, and for part of that time, we also made a Grateful Nation Vest. It honored veterans in two ways; by visually commemorating each of this century’s service ribbons, and by donations to The Fisher House Foundation. The Fisher House Foundation provides residences near military and VA medical centers for families of ill or wounded veterans and service members. A portion of the sale of each blanket goes to the Fisher House Foundation, as well.
Cue Chris Winters, a Puyallup tribal member and veteran who understood that we were no longer making the vest, but wanted to know if we had fabric available. He sent photos of his own vest.
Said Chris, “I am on a Tribal committee and we not only wear Pendleton vests for ceremonies. ..we gift your native blankets to guests, elders, and returning warriors.” Chris is very involved in IUPAT, a Washington State organization that offers outreach, support and training for Native veterans. This group marches in local parades honoring servicemen in their Grateful Nation vests, decorated with the medals earned by veterans who have served our country.
The role of Native Americans in our military cannot be understated. Books have been written and movies made about Native Code Talkers in both World Wars. The percentage of Native Americans serving in the military is higher than any other minority group in America.
We’re bringing back the Grateful nation vest this next fall, in 2014. We thought you’d enjoy seeing the vest worn in Tacoma, Washington area parades and ceremonies by Native veterans who have served our country well.
And thanks, Chris, for reaching out.
Here’s the blanket in the IUPAT office.
Click below for more information about the blanket and the meaning of each service ribbon stripe. Read more
As Veterans Day approaches, two Pendleton blankets deserve some special attention.
First, the Grateful Nation blanket honors the sacrifice of brave men and women who have defended freedom throughout the history of the United States of America.
Each colored stripe represents a service ribbon awarded to veterans of historical conflicts in which our country has engaged:
- World War II Asiatic Pacific Campaign
- World War II Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
- Korean Service
- US Vietnam Service
- Southwest Asia Service (Gulf War)
- War on Terrorism
Sales of this blanket help support The Fisher House® Foundation, which provides residences near major military and VA medical centers for the families of ill or wounded service members. For several years, this blanket pattern was available as a vest. Pendleton was proud to present these vests to the living WWII veterans who were honored in Washington, DC.
Another blanket that honors a specific group of United States military veterans is The Code Talker blanket.
This design honors the crucial role played by Navajo servicemen in defending our country during World War II by developing a code that could not be cracked, based on the Navajo language.
The history of the code talkers is more riveting than any fiction. You can learn more at their official site, and at other sites that tell this fascinating story, which was told in the popular movie “Windtalkers”. This blanket was officially retired as of 2012, but the WWII Navajo Code Talkers are still alive and will be honored this Veterans Day.
They don’t have a Pendleton blanket, but the Choctaw Code Talkers of WWI will be honored along with the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII at Maxwell Air Force Base as part of November, the National American Indian Heritage Month.
And the Smithsonian will feature exhibits on the Code Talkers from both of the Great Wars. We have no word on whether or not the blanket will be included in this exhibit, but it has been featured in papers and exhibits about the Code Talkers since its introduction. That makes us happy, as these blankets have been woven in America with special pride.
We salute and thank those who fight for our country. The dedication and sacrifice of our military should be honored not just on Veterans Day, but every day.