Four Desert Young Marines from Glendale were among more than 150 youth members of the Young Marines, a national youth education and service program, from across the country gathered in Window Rock to honor and learn from the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII.
Every year on Aug. 14, the Navajo Nation celebrates an elite group of World War II veterans – the Navajo Code Talkers. These patriots served their country by transmitting top-secret messages across enemy lines using the Navajo language as code – the only code unbroken by the Japanese in World War II. To date, only five of these veterans remain.
The Glendale foursome included Young Marines/LCPL Angel Torres, Young Marines/PVT Anthony Torres, Young Marines/PVT Xavier Manuel-Cantu, and Young Marines/LCPL Eddie Sanchez-Torres.
Since 2006, the Young Marines have traveled to Arizona each year to celebrate the Navajo Code Talkers and to meet the few remaining survivors in person.
The Navajo Code Talkers’ story has been top secret for years, but the Young Marines help to keep their legacy alive.
“Navajo Code Talkers Day is an event that the Young Marines and the Navajo Code Talkers look forward to every year,” Brenda McNulty, Young Marines event coordinator, stated. “Our partnership between the descendants of the Navajo Code Talkers and the Young Marines has strengthened year after year since 2006. It is a collaborative effort in which both parties create a successful event for everyone to enjoy.”
The Young Marines participate for three days on the Navajo reservation. They escort the Navajo Code Talkers during Navajo Code Talker Day also participate in a parade, a trail run and clean up, community service at a zoo, and museum education. It is a jammed-packed three days of education and service.
“Just being around these exceptional veterans make us feel as though we could take a step back in time,” Col William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines, stated. “The Young Marines are assuring the legacy of these very special veterans. They will not be forgotten.”
The Code Talker Recognition Act of 2007 recognizes every code talker who served in the United States military with a Congressional Gold Medal for his tribe and a silver medal duplicate to each code talker.
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age 8 through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members.
IF YOU GO
What: Desert Young Marines Unit meetings
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Sonoran Sky Elementary School, 10150 W. Missouri, Glendale
More Information: desertyoungmarines.com