Editorial: Nation loses two Navajo Code Talkers

"Another heroic soldier of World War II has passed away, leaving stories of his tenure in the armed forces in the safe keeping of history's embrace.

Stewart Clah, of Hogback, lived a double life as a U.S. Marine and a Navajo Code Talker. He was 87 when he died in his sleep April 29.

There were more than 400 Navajo Code Talkers serving in all six Marine divisions. Without the help of these brave men, whose Navajo-language code baffled the enemy, it is questionable whether the U.S. would have taken Iwo Jima and other vital locations during the war.

Most of the 29 Code Talkers who developed the code have died, while the remainder of the trained Code Talkers are dwindling. The past has a way of slowly disappearing, and with that reality, the knowledge of these men's great deeds will be held in the memories of their relatives, friends and an appreciative country.

Another Navajo Code Talker, Andy T. Sage, shied away from speaking about his experiences as a Marine. But as four of his sons, and at least one grandson, made the decision to serve their country, he decided to open up, telling his children stories of his brushes with death and terrible flashbacks.

The Sage children served during war and peace, from the Vietnam conflict to the current war in Iraq. It was the values of discipline and hard work that their father instilled in them that kept them going.

It is the brave that defend Americans' honor during war time, but it also takes courage and faith to be the one left behind."

Get the Story:
Editorial: In service to country: Area loses another Code Talker (The Farmington Daily Times 5/8)

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