Humble, Honorable Code Talkers
The men knew their job was top secret and they didn’t share many details of their service with their families when they returned home. Decades later, when top secret military service records were declassified, then people began to reveal their secrets. However, many did not share this information with anyone before they died.
The Navajo Code Talkers had a large group men who were still alive and their stories began to circulate. Books were written about their incredible service, including the victory at Iwo Jima. The Navajo had hundreds of survivors who eventually formed a code talker association. More and more accounts were reported and recorded. Even a movie about the code talkers titled Windtalkers was released. This fictional, dramatic, action-packed account starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach brought the Navajo Code Talkers’ story to the public eye.
As other servicemen began to hear the Navajo Code Talkers’ stories, the other smaller groups began to talk, revealing their secrets too. But by this time, the small groups had fewer survivors to tell their stories, so information was limited. Even declassified military documents were a challenge to locate. Little by little, details about the other code talking groups began to surface.
Amazingly, some of the military secrets were reported in the newspapers. For example, one article provided details about the Sioux Code Talkers in World War I. Read the article here.
All in all, these Native men were humble when asked about their important code talking experience, “I was just doing my job” or “I wanted to protect Mother Earth” seemed to be the standard answers to any questions about serving their country. It’s taken awhile, and saying “thank you” doesn’t seem like it’s enough. After many years, these men finally received the recognition they deserved. In 2002, and then in 2013, Congress honored the code talkers by awarding them Congressional Gold and Silver Medals.
These men served as fine warriors, applied Native values (protecting the Earth and demonstrating humility) and earned a significant honor. Good things come to those who wait.
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- Read SCT of WWII Kirkus Review here.
- Check out my book Sioux Code Talkers of World War II coming March 1, 2017, published by Pelican Publishing. Click here for more details.
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