Lori A. Crockett
Navajo Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medal
In 2001, President George W. Bush honored the 29 Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. These Marine Corps radio operators used a secret code based on their native language to radio military plans between allied forces. The Japanese couldn’t break the code because only Navajo speakers could understand it. The medal was awarded because the work of the Code Talkers “greatly assisted in saving countless lives and hastening the end of World War II in the Pacific.” The back of the medal is inscribed with Navajo words that mean “The Navajo Language Was Used to Defeat the Enemy.”
“(3) The United States Government called upon the Navajo Nation to support the military effort by recruiting and enlisting twenty-nine Navajo men to serve as Marine Corps Radio Operators;
(4) The number of Navajo enlistees later increased to more than three hundred and fifty;”
You fought for a land
That was taken from you.
You spoke the language
Forbidden to you.
You fought for a freedom
That was denied you.
You fought for a country
That betrayed you.
“We will take care of you.”
Sent home to
Twenty-Three years of secrecy.
“(3) Amounts received from the sale of duplicate medals under this section shall be deposited in the United States Public Mint Enterprise Fund.”
Public Bill H12296: Sec. 1102. Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers
©Copyright November 22, 2007 by Lori A. Crockett
Author’s Note: I recently watched a documentary about the Navajo Code Talkers. After seeing the bravery and selflessness of the Code Talkers at Iwo Jima, and being deeply moved by the speech made by President Bush when the Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to the Navajo Code Talkers in 2001, I felt compelled to honor them in my own small way. I don’t feel that, even now, that they have been given the attention, the services, and respect they so richly deserve. I have been thinking of them ever since.
Lori A. Crockett
November 22, 2007