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(photo from Pintrest)
(photo from Pintrest)

The Navajo Code Talker Memorial — Window Rock, Ariz.

Many people will remember, and a few readers may have been saved by, the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.

During the war, the Japanese seemed capable of breaking virtually every “secret code” developed by the U.S. military. By breaking those codes, the Japanese military forces were able to intercept and decipher most of the messages sent between the American forces. With this information the, U.S. servicemen became easy prey for the enemy.

A group of 30 or more Navajo soldiers then created a secret code talk, based on their native language, that was unbreakable by the Japanese. These “code talkers” were responsible for saving the lives of many American soldiers.  This secret code allowed safe transmission of military information among the troops. By the end of the War, more than 400 Navajo soldiers were involved as code talkers. They are now given credit for saving the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers.

A small, but impressive park in Window Rock, Ariz., is dedicated to the code talkers and their important contributions to the safety of U.S. troops during the latter stages of World War II. Unfortunately, many of the code talkers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions because the Navajo code was kept a secret from the world until the 1960s.

The statue in Window Rock Park is a tribute to the many members of the code talkers who were from the surrounding Navajo reservation. The large, circular window overlooks the sculpture and a monument dedicated to those Navajo soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Incidentally, a few miles north, at Ft. Defiance, there is a Navajo cemetery located along the highway. American flags were flying over most grave sites on the blustery day as I drove past.

Window Rock is an attractive feature of the small town. On a favorable day, one may enjoy a picnic or moment of spiritual quiet in the little park next to the tribal offices. On the day that I ventured through Window Rock, someone had left the window open and the high and forceful winds were very rough on my RV main, large awning, forcing me to park in a local supermarket lot for about five hours until the winds decreased.

Come, stop and be thankful at the Code Talkers Memorial. The last known living code talker passed on into the land with no wars in early 2014.

About Dr. Bob Gorden

Dr. Bob Gorden is an RVer, hiker and writer. He has a PhD in microbial ecology from the University of Georgia in Athens. He is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Natural History Survey. He has owned and operated more than 55 RVs of various types, and has visited every state, except Hawaii, in his RV. He also traveled by RV in New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. He currently owns and travels in a 1978 GMC 26-foot Class A and 2013 Thor ACE 30.1 Class A motorhome. He has a compelling desire to be “On the Road Again!”

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