August 14th…National Navajo Code Talkers Day

August 14th is a date not found on many U.S. calendars. So what is the significance of this date? It is National Navajo Code Talkers Day. This day was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

The Navajo Code Talkers were a group of 29 Navajo men who were recruited in 1941 and 1942 during World War II and helped to develop a code using the Navajo Language. The idea to develop and use a code in Navajo was proposed by a World War I veteran named Philip Johnston. The use of Native American language to transmit messages was not new but since he grew up the Navajo Reservation, he was familiar with the Navajo Language.

It is interesting that these men were punished severely for speaking their native language when they were put into boarding schools, yet it was this language that helped the United States win the war in the Pacific. This code was also never broken by the Japanese.