In one hour, Native American Code Talkers from tribes across the country will be honored for their contributions to the United States military since as early as October 1918. The public has been invited to watch the live-streamed telecast today, November 20 at 11 a.m. ET on www.speaker.gov/live.
According to a statement by the National Congress of American Indians, “code talkers from various tribal nations served as highly classified specialists on dangerous battlegrounds. These soldiers were so valuable to the war effort that their commanding officers were ordered to kill the code talkers in the event of imminent or actual capture. The code talkers were aware of this added risk to their lives and continued to face that threat every day in action.”
On the House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) website the presentations of the Congressional Gold Medals are for several reasons including the following:
— Code talkers used their Native language to create secure, secret communications that enemies could not decode, ultimately saving servicemembers’ lives.
— Thirty-three tribes from around the country will be recognized and more than 200 silver medals will be presented to individual code talkers and the families of those deceased.
— Code talkers were sworn to secrecy and many of them kept the secret of their participation until they died.
Boehner’s site has also reported hundreds will be traveling to D.C. to accept medals on the behalf of the code talkers and will include Leslie Macias of Ormand Beach, Florida, who has traveled with her grandfather, Robert Holder, a Comanche code talker in World War II and Becky Wahnee of Aiken, South Carolina who is accepting the gold medal on her husband Ralph’s behalf.
“Today these courageous warriors will be honored with presentation of Congressional Medals for their valor and service to this nation,” the NCAI statement said. “The National Congress of American Indians joins the nation in honoring these daring and humble warriors who played a critical role in preserving and protecting this country, our freedoms, and our way of life.”
Of the 33 tribes being honored for their contributions to this effort, 25 specific tribes will be present today.