WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly thanked the Navajo Code Talkers for their service to the Navajo Nation and the United States during a speech Aug. 14 at the National Navajo Code Talker's Day celebration at Veteran's Park.
"Ahe'hee' for your service. Because of your service, my generation and those that followed have taken pride in who they are as Diné," Shelly said during a 10 minute speech introducing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
Shelly was one of the speakers at the celebration that opened with a parade from the Navajo Nation Museum to the Veteran's Park. Nearly 300 people attended the event.
"Our Navajo Code Talkers have inspired an entire generation. For decades boarding schools tried to silence our native tongue. But when we learned our Diné language defeated the Japanese, we rejoiced in happiness because we now had heroes who were our own. Our language is sacred and used by heroes," President Shelly added.
Nearly 20 Navajo Code Talkers took part in the festivities.
"Our language was given to us by the Holy People, and is supposed to be treated as sacred. Our words are expressions of our culture. We have passed our language down from generation to generation and it has sustained our way of life as Diné," said Shelly.
President Ronald Regan proclaimed Aug. 14 as National Navajo Code Talkers Day in 1982.
"I want to honor and thank our Navajo Code Talkers here with us today," Shelly said.