WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - On behalf of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council, Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse'Daa'Kaan, Upper Fruitland) delivered a message to honor the Navajo Code Talkers on Saturday afternoon, during the 29th Annual Navajo Nation Fourth of July celebration in Window Rock.
"We are very grateful for the Navajo Code Talkers with us today and the many that have passed on from this world," Bates said. "They defended people of all races, ethnicities, and religions, and for that reason they are recognized as warriors across this country and around the entire world."
Prior to the recognition event held at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena, Bates presented honorary pins to each of the Navajo Code Talkers and Navajo veterans during a luncheon hosted by the 23rd Navajo Nation Council for the Navajo Code Talkers, Navajo veterans and their families.
Navajo Code Talkers in attendance were Thomas H. Begay, Roy Hawthorne, John Kinsel, Sr., and Samuel Holiday.
Bates also acknowledged the many Navajo men and women currently serving in the armed forces and asked for their safe return to their families.
"We join you in prayer and ask our Holy People to shield our Navajo men and women who are stationed around the world," Bates said. "We ask that they be protected spiritually and physically as they defend us each day and that they return safely to our homeland - between the four sacred mountains."
The Department of Navajo Veterans Affairs in coordination with Navajo Parks and Recognition played host to the event.
President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez also paid tribute to the Navajo Code Talkers, after the posting of the colors by Navajo veterans including Wilmer Woody, LaTanya Sam, Jay W. Long, Tommie Yazzie, and Daniel Yazza.
Michael V. Smith, the son of the late Navajo Code Talker Samuel Smith, Sr., also spoke at the event, recalling the accomplishments and courageous actions of the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.
In recognition of the holiday, Bates delivered a radio message July 3 to wish the Navajo people a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend on behalf of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council. The radio message aired on local radio stations throughout the weekend.