- By Native News Online Staff
PHOENIX — Through Arizona Senate Bill 1803, National Code Talkers Day will now be recognized as a state holiday in the State of Arizona. The legislation was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Thursday in the presence of Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer and three Navajo Code Talkers: former chairman of the Navajo Nation Peter MacDonald, Sr., Samuel F. Sandoval and Thomas H. Begay.
The signing ceremony at the Capitol was also attended by State Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, and House Speaker Russell Bowers. In addition, several descendants of Navajo Code Talkers who have passed away attended the signing ceremony.
August 14th was designated as National Navajo Code Talkers Day by former Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1982. He did so to honor contributions during World War II made by the Navajo Code Talkers, who used the Navajo language as a code that was never broken. Many war experts maintain the efforts by the Navajo Nation Code Talkers helped the United States to win World War II in the Pacific.
"We pay tribute to the Navajo Code Talkers for their courageous service in World War II,” Lizer said. “At the time of their enlistments, they were very young men, but they answered the call of duty and unknowingly built a humble legacy for the Navajo people recognized throughout the world.
“By using Diné Bizaad, our Navajo language, they helped win the war and protect our freedom today. Their service and leadership will forever live on in our hearts and memories. Today, we thank Governor Ducey for signing this historical bill to honor all Navajo and Native American veterans,” Lizer said.
Arizona SB 1802 was sponsored by Sen. Peshlakai, a member of the Navajo Nation, and received unanimous support from the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives.
"Today, we are blessed to have four Navajo Code Talkers remaining with us, including Samuel F. Sandoval, Thomas H. Begay, John Kinsel Sr., and former Chairman of the Navajo Nation Peter MacDonald, Sr. We honor them and thank their families for all of their sacrifices. They will forever be our legacy and strength," said Senator Peshlakai.
During the ceremony, MacDonald, Sandoval, and Begay thanked Arizona leaders for recognizing and honoring their service to defend the country.
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