October 16, 2008 –
MAYETTA: Samuel Tom Holiday, a Navajo Code Talker from World War II, visited the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation with his family yesterday. While he was here he lunched at theFirekeepers Elder Center and took a tour afterward of the We-Ta-Se American Legion Post 410 building and Veterans Memorial in Prairie Peoples Park.
We-Ta-Se Post Commander Jim Potts escorted Holiday and his family during their tour of the common land.
Holiday is one of 280 Marines from the Navajo tribe who saw combat as a “code talker” during World War II. He is one of ten who can still travel and tell his story out of the approximately 50 to 100 who are left. During World War II he was a member of the 4th Marine Division and saw combat on Saipan, Iwo Jima, Marshall Islands and Tinian.
Born in 1924 on the Navajo reservation Holiday was recruited into the Marine Corps when he was 18 years old. He was sent to Camp Pendleton in California where he learned to speak a codified form of the Navajo language that eventually led to the downfall of Japan.
Today Holiday resides in Kayenta, Ariz. He is a member of the Taachini Clan and grew up as a shepherd on the reservation.
Code Talkers were considered classified and kept secret by the U.S. government until 1968. In 1981 they were finally publicly recognized for their service by President Ronald Reagan and in 1982 a National Navajo Code Talkers Day was established that is celebrated each year on August 14. In April 2000 the Navajo Code Talkers received the Congressional Silver medal.