Several people in the Southwest have told me that the last Navajo code talker passed away last month. I was concerned for my friend Redhouse (his Navajo name) whom I visited last summer. Fortunately, I was able to visit him a few days ago in Arizona. He cleared up the statements made to me about the recent funeral of the last of "the original 29" code talkers. Redhouse attended the funeral of Chester Nez. I was impressed when he said that the interstate was closed from Albuquerque to the Veterans' Cemetery in Santa Fe. The large entourage had a police escort all the way. Policemen barricaded the on-ramps to the interstate. It was such an honor to close down the interstate for him.
My friend went on to say that there were nearly 500 World War II Navajo code talkers and that 29 of them are still living. Last year Redhouse allowed me to photograph his large silver code talker medal. The original 29 talkers received a gold medal for their service. It was a joy to once again shake the hand of a code talker and to thank him for his service to our country.
May we continue to revere the code talkers, living and dead, for their important part in our victory in World War II.