The Navajo Language: A Blessing In Disguise
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War Heroes


After the Americans captured the Japanese island of Okinawa, they received the message that they had won the war.  Some spoke freely of the war, even finding humorous edges to the most perilous of situations.  Others, however, did not speak of the whole terrible ordeal.  These Navajos who had fought along side the white Americans found themselves back down at the bottom of society.  Still they were poor.  They couldn’t vote or get good jobs in some states.  In most books you will read about World War II, you won’t here any mention at all of these Navajo warriors.

Finally, in 1969, the Fourth Marine Division Association had a reunion in which the Navajos were recognized.   John Brown, Jr., one of the original 29 Code Talkers, said,  "We have seen much in our lives; we have experienced war and peace; we know the value of freedom and democracy that this great nation embodies. But, our experiences have also shown us how fragile these things can be, and how we must stay ever-vigilant to protect them. As Code Talkers -- as Marines -- we did our part to protect these values. It is my hope that our young people will carry on this honorable tradition as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers flow."

In 1971, President Richard Nixon awarded Navajo Code Talkers a special certificate in thanks for their “patriotism, resourcefulness, and courage.  Few years later they were included in the July 4­­­­­th Bicentennial Parade in Washington, DC.  In May of 1982, the United States Senate passed a bill declaring August 14th National Code Talkers Day.  Senator Dennis DeConchini had this to say: “Since the Code Talkers’ work required absolute secrecy, they never enjoyed the national acclaim they so much deserved.  I do not want this illustrious yet unassuming group of Navajo Marines to fade into history without notice.”   
This is a picture of Code Talker John Brown Jr. giving a speech.
This is a picture of Navajo Code Talker John Brown, Jr. giving a speech at the Code Talker recognition.

Courtesy Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Andrew and the Code Talker statue
Andrew and the "Tribute To Navajo Code Talkers" statue by Doug Hyde (1989)

Text at base of statue

"This tribute represents the spirit of the Navajo Code Talkers, a group of more than 400 U.S. Marines who bravely served their country during World War II. 

Their mission: to utilize the Navajo language in the creation of an unbreakable secret code.  Between 1942 and 1945, the
Navajo Code Talkers used this code, and their skills as radio operators, to provide a secure method of communications vital to America's victory.

Among many Natiive Americans, the flute is a communications tool used to signal the end of confrontation and the coming of peace.  This tribute represents the advancement of peace for all future generations."
Navajo Code Talker G.I. Joe
The Navajo Code Talker G.I. Joe action figure with radio transmitter

"I talk!  Says 7 different phrases!  In Navajo Code and English!"
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