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Navajo council establishes annual 'Code Talkers Day'

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation Council has established a Navajo Nation Code Talkers Day, a tribal holiday to be held every Aug. 14.

''In all the war histories of the United States, no other language other than English was used except in World War II, when the United States for the first time in its military history used the Navajo people and used Navajo words to win the war,'' said Council Delegate Larry Anderson of Fort Defiance, the sponsor of the holiday measure.

The Navajo code talkers used their Native language to transmit military messages on enemy tactics, Japanese troop movements and other battlefield information by telephone and radio in a code the Japanese found impossible to break.

According to the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C., code talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945.

''The Navajo code was dispatched by the Navajo and received by Navajo and translated by Navajo,'' Anderson said.

There were 29 original code talkers, but several hundred Navajos served as code talkers during the war.

After the war, they were told to keep their work a secret. Even after the information was declassified in 1968, they were reluctant to discuss it or take credit for their deeds.

The council voted 56 - 0 in favor of the code talker holiday in December.

The original code talkers, the first platoon to graduate, were honored with Congressional Gold Medals in 2001. More than 300 others who were not part of the first group received silver medals.