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Honoring veterans, past and present

Tribe memoralizes one of its own with a plaque and a special honor - 13 On Your Side's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A member of the Quechan tribe who gave his all to our country in world war one was officially memorialized this Veteran's Day.

Pvt. Lee Rainbow joined the military at the young age of 15.

He fought for our nation before his people were recognized as citizens.

During a time of uncertainty for the nation and the world, service members fought for our freedom… even those who were not seen as equal-- even Pvt. Rainbow.

"They weren’t actually drafted. It was a lot more of a volunteer basis. So he answered the call. He knew that his country needed him, not just his tribal people, but he went over, overseas and made the ultimate sacrifice. He’s the first documented Quechan that passed away at a wartime situation, especially in World War I," says American Legion Quechan Post 802 Commander Frank Venegas.

Pvt. Rainbow lost his life at the age of 17 in October of 1918, only a month before the end of WWI.

"My dad always had his own plaque, he had his own information and as long as I can remember, I’ve always been taught about [Private Rainbow]," explains Pvt. Lee Rainbow's descendant Victoria Rainbow-Jackson.

Rainbow-Jackson says it’s a tremendous honor to commemorate her ancestor for his bravery, but she’s also thankful for all veterans.

"They’re amazing and you know, we appreciate them so much for every single thing they do and everything that they sacrifice for all of us," says Rainbow-Jackson.

One Quechan elder says Pvt. Rainbow’s recognition is long overdue.

"He knew his tribal ways. He knew his tribal ways. He heard the songs, he saw the songs, he saw the ceremonies. He saw everything that our tribe did, our people did. He leaves that memory, he leaves that history," explains Quechan Elder Preston Arrow-Weed.

Congress granted citizenship to all U.S.-born Native Americans in 1924.

Other members of the Rainbow family followed in Pvt. Rainbow’s footsteps by joining the military and fighting for our country.

Author Profile Photo

Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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