Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement honoring the Native American Code Talkers who helped win World War I and II. The Code Talkers were recognized in a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in the U.S. Capitol. Members of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos are among those to receive recognition for their contributions. Navajo Code Talkers were recognized in a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in 2001.
“It was an honor to celebrate the tremendous contribution by Native American Code Talkers. Today we awarded the highest congressional honor to these veterans who helped us develop a code so strong it couldn’t be cracked. I’m proud to represent these veterans, who include members of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos in New Mexico – many of whom, along with their families, joined us at the ceremony.
“It is often said that America’s diversity makes her strong. And during two world wars, this country’s cultural diversity contributed to American military strength in a very real and concrete way. We owe a debt of gratitude to these veterans. Their patriotism and honor make us proud.”
Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement today after Native American Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in World War I and II. Luján joined members of the Pueblo of Acoma – including tribal leaders, veterans, and family members of Code Talkers – at the National Museum of the American Indian during the presentation of silver medals to representatives of the Code Talkers.
“Today, Congress honored Native American Code Talkers by presenting them with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest recognition that Congress bestows for distinguished achievements and contributions. The Native American Code Talkers who contributed to victories in World War I and World War II are deserving of such a high honor. They played a vital role in the effort to defeat the enemy by transmitting messages in their native languages.
“Thirty-three tribes from around the country were recognized with this honor and over 200 silver medals were presented to families of code talkers.
“The secure codes that Native American Code Talkers used remained unbroken in both World Wars, enabling essential communications between Allied forces that helped save the lives of countless soldiers and played a key role in victory.
“New Mexico is home to the Pueblo of Acoma and the Pueblo of Laguna, two tribes whose service we are proud to recognize and whose efforts deserve our gratitude. In my district in New Mexico, I am honored to represent part of the Navajo Nation and the brave individuals who served with distinction as Code Talkers during World War II.
“The efforts of these heroes and all of the Native American Code Talkers who answered the call to serve this country when they were needed most will forever be remembered. We thank them for their brave service and we honor their sacrifice.”