Nine members of the Douglas County Young Marines were among more than 150 Young Marines from across the country who gathered in Window Rock, Arizona, to honor and learn from the Navajo code talkers from World War II.
Every year on Aug. 14, the Navajo nation celebrates the World War II veterans who served their country by transmitting top-secret messages across enemy lines using the Navajo language as code. It was the only code unbroken by the Japanese in World War II.
The Young Marines have traveled to Arizona each year since 2006 to celebate the Navajo code talkers and to meet the remaining survivors in person. To date, there are five remaining Navajo code talkers from the 420 who coded messages in World War II, according to a news release.
The Navajo Code Talkers’ story had been top secret for years, but the Young Marines help to keep their legacy alive.
“Navajo Code Talkers Day is an event that the Young Marines and the Navajo Code Talkers look forward to every year,” Brenda McNulty, Young Marines event coordinator, said in the release. “Our partnership between the descendants of the Navajo Code Talkers and the Young Marines has strengthened year after year since 2006. It is a collaborative effort in which both parties create a successful event for everyone to enjoy.”
The Young Marines participate for three days on the Navajo reservation. They escort the Navajo Code Talkers during Navajo Code Talker Day and participate in a parade, a trail run and clean up, community service at a zoo, and museum education.
“Just being around these exceptional veterans make us feel as though we could take a step back in time,” Col. William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines, said in the release. “The Young Marines are assuring the legacy of these very special veterans. They will not be forgotten.”
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