The Buckner family knows what service and honor is all about. And at its May Tribal Council meeting, the Cherokee Nation honored them–a Cherokee father and eight of his sons, all veterans–with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism.
Billy Buckner, 79, Posey Buckner, 77, Allen Buckner, 72, Gerald Buckner, 71, and Paul Buckner, 69, of Stilwell, and Vernon Buckner, 74, of Tahlequah, received a medal and plaque from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden acknowledging their service to the country.
Their father, the late Leland Buckner, and brothers Mosey Buckner and Bobby Buckner, all formerly of Stilwell, were also honored posthumously for their service.
“It’s a big deal to our family to be recognized by the tribe for our service,” Allen Buckner said in a Nation press release.
Leland Buckner was born May 6, 1894, to the late Posey and Mary Buckner, in Stilwell. Leland enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918 and served nearly a year during World War I (it's worth noting that American Indians were not allowed to be U.S. citizens until 1924, yet Buckner volunteered to fight in Europe). He and his wife, Evelyn, raised 11 children, two daughters and nine sons. The sons all served their country.
Leland’s late sons Mosey and Bobby, as well as Posey, Vernon, Allen and Paul, followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Army. Twins Mosey and Posey both enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 7, 1955, and served during the Korean War. Bobby, Vernon, Allen and Paul all served during the 1960s and were stationed in Europe.
Billy enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956 and received his honorable discharge in 1962. Gerald enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1960 and served more than three years during the Vietnam War.
A ninth son, Adrian Buckner, also served as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard from 1965-71.
May is National Military Appreciation Month. All month ICTMN will be honoring those who serve and have served. If you have stories, photos or veteran's event information to share, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication.
Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, you can call 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.