Memorial Day 2009
Today, we remember and pay tribute to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and ensure our freedoms. Thank you for your service, strength and valor.
Flags will be flying at half staff in honor of another hero, John Brown, Jr., one of the original Navajo Code Talkers and a Navajo Councilman, who died this past week.
The 29 Navajo Code Talkers had developed a secret code based on their native language, which was never deciphered by the Japanese and is credited with contributing to victory in the Pacific theater of World War II and saving thousands of lives.
"We have seen much in our lives; we have experienced war and peace; we know the value of freedom and democracy that this great nation embodies. But, our experiences have also shown us how fragile these things can be, and how we must stay ever-vigilant to protect them. As Code Talkers — as Marines — we did our part to protect these values. It is my hope that our young people will carry on this honorable tradition as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers flow." — John Brown, Jr. (1921-2009)
The secret project wasn’t declassified until 1968. As Navajo Tribal President Joe Shirley said: “For so long, these brave men were the true unsung heroes of World War II, shielding their valiant accomplishments not only from the world but from their own families. The recognition and acknowledgment of their great feats came to them late in life but, for most, not too late. These heroes among us are now a very precious few, and we, as a nation, mourn their loss. We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. John Brown Jr.”