ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- A Soldier transfers ordnance during World War II, the most destructive conflict in history. An Electrician's Mate 3rd Class serves aboard USS Durham (LKA 114) during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This is the heritage of service left by Russell Loud Hawk, grandfather, and Cy Black Horn, father to Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Cassandra Black Horn.
"I was born and raised in Oglala, South Dakota which is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I lived there my whole life. And Jacksonville was the first place I lived away from there. I am full blood Lakota. That is my tribe, culture, language. And that one word defines everything, who we are and where we come from," said Black Horn.
The past may seem like an event that happened long ago, but this heritage can be passed down throughout generations and embedded in one's memories. Adapting to new demands in a modern world is a part of history as well.
"Often cultural heritage is lost or forgotten in the passing of time," said Black Horn. "I come from a strong family that does not waiver from these customs."
Recognition of these customs can be granted by many means, much like an award earned by a Sailor. Black Horn obtained her achievement in the form of a plume, which is bestowed upon an individual after receiving their Lakota name. Wanbli Ho Waste Win, which means Her Beautiful Voice Eagle Woman, is the tribe name given to her by her grandfather.
"They base it on you, what you have become and how they see you as a person growing up," said Black Horn. "My grandfather saw his mother in me, and believed that's what I was going to be."
As our nation changes through time, our military force rises to the challenge of new threats. A heritage in the service of that cause is something that will forever be endowed to us by those who have come before us to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
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