Navajo Code Talker commemorates national holiday at Arizona memorial

Aug 14, 2022, 11:25 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

PHOENIX — Code Talker Thomas H. Begay and others commemorated Navajo Code Talkers Day on Sunday morning in Phoenix, honoring their contributions that have been credited with helping the United States win World War II.

At a memorial located by the Wesley Bolin Plaza, Begay, one of the last three Code Talkers alive, said the holiday is to remember those that didn’t return from their service.

“We honor today to remember those code talkers that never came home,” Thomas H. Begay said. “During the World War II, the Navajos had developed the best code that was never broken by the enemy of the United States of America.

“It was the hardest thing to learn, but we were able to develop a code that cannot be broken by the enemy.”

The Code Talkers communicated messages in the Pacific during World War II using a code with their native speech — a then un-written language.

“I want to thank you for joining us today, with us to remember. Thank all the people around, anywhere, thank them for remembering Navajo Code Talkers,” Begay said.

Former chairman of the Navajo Nation and one of the last remaining Code Talkers, Peter MacDonald, told the Veterans Association, “Without Navajo, Marines would never have taken the island of Iwo Jima. That’s how critical Navajo Code was to the war in the Pacific.”

In March 2021, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Navajo Code Talkers Day as a state holiday.

Most recently, Ducey said Navajo Code Talkers “changed the course of history with their strength and ingenuity.”

He added, “Arizona will never forget the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers. Their native language became an unbreakable code and a critical asset to winning World War II.”

Some of the words used to transmit messages were new to their native language. In one instance, as there was no Navajo word for “submarine” upon entering the war, Code Talkers created the term “besh-lo,” a direct translation of “iron-fish.”

Code Talkers aided all military operations in every assault the Marines oversaw in the Pacific.

John Kinsel Sr. is the third remaining Navajo man of the group.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Bryan Patrick Miller (Photo provided by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

Bench trial for man accused of killing 2 women in Phoenix to begin Monday

A bench trial is scheduled to begin Monday for a man accused of sexually attacking and fatally stabbing two young women in separate killings.
17 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

2 men dead after shooting breaks out at party in Gila Bend

Two men ages 25 and 26 are dead after a shooting broke out at a party in Gila Bend Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
17 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 77-year-old man last seen in Queen Creek

A Silver Alert was issued Sunday for a 77-year-old man last seen near Queen Creek Road and South Meridian Road.
17 hours ago
(Petrified Forest National Park Photo)...
Alex Weiner

Triassic reptile discovered at Arizona’s Petrified Forest named after former park superintendent

A Triassic reptile species discovered at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona was named after former park Superintendent and wife.
17 hours ago
(City of Phoenix Photo)...
Kevin Stone

New trash pickup days start this week for most of Phoenix

New pickup days go into effect Monday for 80% of the Phoenix's trash, garbage and green organic pickup customers.
17 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizonan sentenced for Vegas-based scheme targeting migrants

An Arizona man who convinced recent immigrants from to pay him thousands of dollars each to help them gain U.S. citizenship has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Navajo Code Talker commemorates national holiday at Arizona memorial