Feature in New York Times on World War II re-enactors in Normandy this week. It is hard to re-enact war in the U.S. after the Civil War. Re-enacting the training camps that sent men and women to war isn’t quite the same thing.
President Obama has spoken today at the American cemetery above Omaha beach on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Video above is from the day’s ceremonies.
But I found most affecting in today’s New York Times the coincidental obituary of Chester Nez, 93, the last of the 29 original Navajo code talkers who adapted their native language into an unbreakable code that guided American military in some of its toughest battles.
To the end of his life, Chester Nez recalled the first message he sent over the radio while serving at Guadalcanal: “Enemy machine gun nest on your right. Destroy.”
Receiving the message, American forces eliminated the threat.
Nez’s heroism didn’t translate into an easy life after the war. He suffered post-traumatic stress. He was not allowed to vote until 1948. He once was required to carry an Indian ID card.
It’s a fascinating story with the history of how the code came to be and was used.