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On November 17, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society will host a special webinar featuring hero and World War II and Korean War veteran, Lance Corporal Thomas Begay, one of three living Navajo Code Talkers. During our event to honor Veterans Day and National Native American Heritage Month, LC Begay—recipient of the Congressional Silver Medal—will reflect on his service in the United States Marines during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Chosin Reservoir, the reception that he and his fellow Navajos received from fellow Americans, and why he believed then, just as he does now, “No matter what nationality. No matter what tribe. I think there’s one flag, one nation, one of us all.”
Our event will also feature Hopi journalist, Patty Talahongva, who produced the documentary film, The Power of Words: Native Languages as Weapons of War, for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. She will detail the history of Indian code talkers during the First and Second World Wars, their recruitment, training, and treatment in the U.S. Army, and why the details of their involvement remained hidden for decades.
Finally, we will discuss how the Code Talkers transmitted more than 800 messages, without error, to help the Allies win the Battle of Iwo Jima and World War II; and the importance of honoring their sacrifice—and that of every veteran—so that America remains free.