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The Navajo Code Talkers

National Navajo Code Talkers’ Day is Thursday, Aug. 14.

Navajo soldiers used their language as a secret code during World War II. It was the only code the enemy couldn’t crack, which helped end the war. Learn more about this fascinating chapter in WW II history with materials from your library.

“Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII,” by Chester Nez.

His name wasn’t Chester Nez; that was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. In boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions.

But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength — both physical and mental — to excel as a Marine.

During WW II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare — and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific.

“Windtalkers,” DVD, MGM Home Entertainment, 2002.

A battle-weary Marine is assigned to guard — and ultimately befriends — a young Navajo soldier who has been trained to be a code talker. This code, the Navajo code, and the men who knew the code, were to be guarded as they went into action.

It was the unspoken duty of the Marine to kill the Navajo soldier before he could be taken prisoner of war by the Japanese. This is the one wartime code that was never broken by the enemy.

Library Happenings

The Detroit Lakes Library Club Kickoff Meeting is this Saturday, Aug. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. Membership is open to anyone interested in the library and informative, interesting library programs. Members are asked to contribute a small annual fee.  Attend a meeting for more details.

It’s the final week of the Sizzlin’ Summer Reads adult reading program. Fill out an entry form for every four books you read for a chance to win prizes! Bring them to the Library by Saturday, Aug. 16. Fill out an entry form for every four books you read for a chance to win prizes! Participants must be 18 or older. Keep on reading!