Next week, Native American code talkers will be honored for their valor and dedication during World War I and World War II at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center. The ceremony will be livestreamed right here on speaker.gov/live on Wednesday, November 20 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Here’s what you should know about the code talkers before you tune in to the ceremony:
- Code talkers used their native language to create secure, secret communications that enemies could not decode, ultimately saving servicemembers’ lives.
- The American military’s first reported use of Native American code talkers dates back to October 1918.
- 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.
Hundreds will flock to Washington D.C. in the coming days to honor these heroes and accept the medals on their behalf, including:
- Leslie Macias of Ormand Beach, Florida, who will travel with her grandfather, Robert Holder, a Comanche code talker in World War II. “My grandfather climbed up and strung powers lines while bullets were flying”, says Marcias, “It was a huge contribution and an important part of the war.”
- “It is the greatest honor that I will ever have in my lifetime,” says Becky Wahnee of Aiken, South Carolina who will accept the gold medal on her husband Ralph’s behalf.
Don’t forget to tune in to speaker.gov/live on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. ET to see these patriots receive their due at last.