ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona declares National Navajo Code Talkers Day state holiday

Mar 29, 2021, 5:00 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2021, 7:27 am
(Facebook/Our Navajo Code Talkers)...
(Facebook/Our Navajo Code Talkers)
(Facebook/Our Navajo Code Talkers)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Monday declaring a state holiday in honor of the Navajo Code Talkers, who used their language to transmit coded messages during World War II.

The holiday will occur Aug. 14 each year under state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai’s SB 1802.

It will be observed on a Sunday when state offices already are closed.

“It’s wonderful to have the state of Arizona honor and recognize the sacrifices and contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a press release. “It’s long overdue. We only have a few Navajo Code Talkers with us to this day, but we pay tribute to all of them and their families.

“Their legacy is strengthened with today’s signing of this bill and we hope that this will also help to share the stories of our Code Talkers so that many more people throughout the state are aware of everything that they gave for our country.”

While hundreds of Navajos were recruited as code talkers, about a dozen Hopis and members of other tribes also covertly sent wartime messages.

The Navajo Nation celebrates Aug. 14 as a tribal holiday, marking the date Japan announced it would surrender to the Allied forces. The annual ceremony typically is held in person but was moved online last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s important that all Arizonans remember the service and bravery of the Navajo Code Talkers,” Peshlakai said in a press release. “Their crucial service during WWII will not be forgotten, and we will continue to honor them every August 14th.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona declares National Navajo Code Talkers Day state holiday