Ceremony held in Phoenix in honor of National Navajo Code Talkers Day
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Sunday marks National Navajo Code Talkers Day, which pays homage to those who played a key role in American history. In honor of the historic day, a special ceremony was held in Phoenix for those who served as code talkers during World War II.
Veteran Thomas H. Begay was surrounded by his granddaughter and family at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on Sunday morning. Begay joined the military as a teen and is one of the only three living Navajo code talkers left. “It’s been an honor and I’m very grateful for our Native heritage, and what our language was able to do during WWII,” said Begay’s granddaughter.
Begay’s children also enlisted in the military, just like their father. Begay recalled his time serving our country. “We lost some code talkers the first day. So I had to go out and replace them,” he said.
Many other families were honored at the event. Among the crowd was James Manulito Jr. He knew his father was in the service, but didn’t know he was a code talker until the information was declassified in the 1960s. “After that, it was very honored. For his dedication, his sacrifice that he made for us. Not only for us, but for his homeland,” said Manulito Jr.
Code talkers took part in every Marine assault in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. They delivered thousands of top-secret messages on combat tactics, and it’s the only military code in modern history never broken by the enemy. The code was based on the then-unwritten Navajo language, which stumped Japanese military cryptologists. The code is credited in large with assisting the United States in winning the war.
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