ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Navajo Nation is holding a day of celebration and remembrance today in Window Rock, Ariz., to honor Navajo soldiers and Marines who created a code the Japanese couldn’t crack during World War II, according to a post on Indian Country Today Media Network.
“Our Navajo Code Talkers have inspired an entire generation,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said. “For decades, boarding schools tried to silence our Native tongue. But when we found out our Dine language had defeated the Japanese, we rejoiced in happiness because we now had heroes who were our own. Our language is sacred, and used by heroes.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is scheduled to attend a luncheon honoring the code talkers today in Window Rock.
“This is the first governor visit since June, when we had Governor Gary Herbert from Utah here,” Shelly spokesman Erny Zah told Indian County Today. “Before that, there hadn’t been any since I started back in November.”
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first annual National Navajo Code Talkers Day 30 years ago today, on Aug. 14, 1982, the article said.
Only about 70 code talkers are still alive, including the last of the original 29, Chester Nez.
Shelly has ordered Navajo Nation flags to be flown at half-staff over the past year to honor six code talkers who have died, including:
U.S. Marine Pfc. Jimmy Lee Benally, of Teec Nos Pos, Ariz.;
Sgt. Jimmie Begay, 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, of Sawmill, Ariz.;
Code Talker Samuel Tso, 5th Marine Division, from the area near Many Farms, Ariz.;
Code Talker Frank Chee Willeto, 6th Marine Division, of Pueblo Pintado, N.M.;
Code Talker Reuben Curley, 2nd Marine Division, of Flagstaff, Ariz.;
Code Talker Keith M. Little, 6th Marine Division, of Crystal, N.M.; and
Cpl. Billy Crosby, 1st Separation Company, Marine Corps Battalion, of Chinle, Ariz.