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Anthony John LaMere 50th Memorial Ceremony
The Anthony John LaMere 50th Memorial Ceremony took place in South Sioux City, Nebraska, on July 3, 2021. Photo collage by Winonah Leader Charge / Winnebago Indian News
LaMere Family Honors Winnebago Tribal Member Killed in Action in Vietnam
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Editor, Winnebago Indian News

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Nebraska — On July 3rd, the LaMere family organized a 50th Memorial Ceremony for Anthony John LaMere, the only Winnebago Tribe member killed in action in Vietnam on July 1st, 1971.  

Fifty years later, LaMere’s legacy continues to impact the lives of many. This was evident during the ceremony at Siouxland Freedom Park in South Sioux City. The memory of LaMere was celebrated with a ceremony, songs and a meal. 

“It was a great day for the LaMere family,” said Tony Wood, nephew of LaMere. “It was an emotional day, starting with the view looking over the top of the Vietnam Veterans Wall and seeing friends and relatives coming into the park”

“Some old, some young, but all came to honor this fallen Winnebago Warrior, SP4 Anthony J. LaMere, 50 years after his passing,” said Wood. “His sacrifice will always be remembered with the etching on the wall and speaking his name. It was a perfect day with the drum group singing the LaMere song and concluding with the 21 Gun Salute and Taps.  We made all our relatives proud and smile on the other side of Maunas creation.”

The Winnebago Veterans Association Honor guard opened the ceremony with posting of the Colors and New Breed Drum Group singing the Flag song. John Blackhawk was the Master of Ceremonies (MC). 

Presenters included: 

Invocation – Mr. James Erickson 

Welcome –   Mr. Anthony Wood 

Remarks on behalf of the LaMere Family – Mr. Darrell LaMere 

Written Statement from Bob Kerrey – Ms. Jennifer LaMere 

Winnebago Tribal Council – Ms. Lorelei Decora 

Music – Mr. Michael Murphy 

New Breed Drum Group sang the “John LaMere Song” and an “Honor Song.” The ceremony concluded with Retiring of the Colors by the Winnebago Veterans Association Honor Guard, and a 21 Gun Salute and Taps. 

In 1971, Tribal members wrote a song in memory of Tony LaMere.  The song was comprised of tones “which will be remembered, a slow chant which bring to mind through vibrations who Tony is and what happened.  You live this kind of song.  It’s not forgotten.  It’s kept in the heart,” reads a historical article from 1971.

Written Statement from Bob Kerrey shared by Jennifer LaMere
“The most patriotic speech I ever heard was given by one of the finest men I ever knew: Frank LaMere. Frank was a friend, a good friend. And the speech he gave was actually supposed to be an introduction of me. 

His introduction was far more memorable than my speech, which even I have forgotten. 

Frank talked about his brother Tony who had been killed two weeks after his twentieth birthday near Quang Tri, Vietnam on July 1st, 1971.  Fifty years ago. 

All Frank did to capture his brother’s sacrifice was to describe all the things – good and bad – that Tony had missed. 

President Nixon’s re-election and resignation. 

Meeting and marrying the love of his life and building the family of his dreams. 

The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, Disco, and bell bottom pants. 

He missed the peace agreement that ended the war and the welcome home for Americans released from Vietnamese prisons. 

And more. Much more. 

Frank’s slow, quiet description of all that his brother missed brought tears to my eyes. Remembering it still does. 

To all of you celebrating and remembering the brief, brave life of Tony LaMere: Thank you. I wish I could be with you.”  

Written statement by Frank LaMere, brother of Anthony J. LaMere, Childhood History and Details about Anthony J. LaMere’s life
 “Specialist Four Anthony John LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, was killed in action on the 1st of July 1971 in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam. He died at the age of 20 years and 20 days while walking the point position on a combat patrol when a member of his platoon stepped on a booby trap. Anthony was a member of the Bear Clan who was serving with Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division, the “Screaming Eagles.” He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice and left behind a proud Gold Star family and a people who honor and remember him.  

Tony was born on June 12, 1951 and attended grade schools in South Sioux City and Winnebago Nebraska. He graduated from the 8th grade at St. Augustine’s Indian Mission in Winnebago and attended Trinity Prep Seminary in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Stephan, South Dakota in 1970 before he enlisted in the Army on August 6, 1970.  

Tony left behind four brothers, three of whom served in the Vietnam era, and five sisters. He was the son of John LaMere and Matilda Rogue LaMere. He was the grandson of Pete LaMere and Iva Littlewolf LaMere and Charlie Rogue and Fern St. Cyr Rogue. Tony’s parents and his grandparents are all gone now but many nieces and nephews have come and one nephew bears his name.  

He is remembered as a courageous young Winnebago boy who gave his life that people may live and may live free. He gave all of his Ho-Chunk relatives the right to stand on his shoulders and to talk of how things could be and how things should be for the people and the generations to come. It is a sacred responsibility that we who remain must undertake every day of our life.

A letter received from Tony written before his death spoke to his resolve, humility and commitment and should be a testament to how we as Ho-Chunk people should face adversity. “I can take no pride like others here in saying that I am fearless or unafraid when I go into battle. I can only take pride in the fact that I go out on patrol day after day with fear and death all around me.” He acted for the people and we remember our Ho-Chunk relative.” Anthony is remembered on Panel 3W, Line 96.”

The Winnebago Indian News (WIN), founded in January 1972, is published bi-weekly for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The Mission of the WIN is to inform and to educate the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska of issues that affect them, and to be a vehicle in which stresses positive and beneficial concerns and points of view.