- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) - A copy of the Lord’s Prayer written in Cherokee that was carried by a Cherokee World War II veteran has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The late Woodrow Roach of Tahlequah fought for the U.S. Army from 1944-45 and believed the prayer was his good luck charm while serving in Italy and the Philippines.

Roach’s family donated the prayer as a way to honor their patriarch’s sacrifice.

“Our family has so much respect for veterans and the sacrifices they all make,” Roach’s granddaughter Della Boyer, of Denton, Texas, said in a news release. “We just wanted to share a special piece of our family history with others from around the world.

“I know there will be many veterans and families that can relate to my grandfather carrying this prayer with him during the war. Many soldiers needed that one thing that gave them comfort and security during very trying times,” Boyer said.

Roach was 32 when he went to war - even though the Army said he could opt out since he had three young children. He completed his basic training at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then joined the fight in Italy.

While serving there, an Army road grader came under fire and blocked the path of Roach and the other men. Roach crawled to the grader on his stomach and moved the machine so the men could proceed down the path and fight back.

Roach was then sent to the Philippines and transferred to an engineering company that built bridges since he was able to operate heavy machinery.

After completing his service, Roach worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and taught at Sequoyah High School.

The National Museum of the American Indian is located in Washington, D.C., and possesses an expansive collection of Native American artifacts, photographs and other objects.

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