WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Today, on National Navajo Code Talkers Day, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement honoring the service of Navajo Code Talkers during World War II:
“When the first 29 Navajo recruits came to Camp Pendleton, California in the spring of 1942, they arrived with a fierce determination to defend their homeland and the sacred ideals of the United States. The Code Talkers carried that patriotic dedication forward, even as they were confronted daily with our nation’s own failure to live up to its deepest principles of freedom and justice for all people. At Camp Pendleton, the Code Talkers embarked on a secret mission: to develop a code so strong it couldn’t be cracked. Without the aid of computers or modern technology, their code – rooted in their own Native languages – helped save the lives of countless Allied troops and civilians, and helped secure victory in the Pacific.
“Eventually, more than 400 Code Talkers joined the mission. Facing discrimination at home, the Code Talkers signed up to help liberate others from oppression. In the process, they showed remarkable heroism, demonstrated that America’s diversity is our strength, and used their language as a tool to safeguard our most precious freedoms. Even still, for years, the extraordinary achievements and leadership of the Code Talkers went untold and unrecognized.
“Today, on National Navajo Code Talkers Day, we honor their service, and the service of all Native American men and women who have worn the uniform. As we commemorate their story of strength and sacrifice, let us pause to reflect on how we can better serve Native communities, as the Code Talkers served us. Today and all days, we remain eternally grateful for the Cold Talkers’ codes and their commitment – both forever unbreakable.”