- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation is honoring the men who stumped the Japanese in World War II using a code based on their native language.

A parade and ceremony took place Friday morning in the tribal capital of Window Rock for Navajo Code Talker Day. Tribal lawmakers designated Aug. 14 a tribal holiday in 2006.

Navajo President Russell Begay thanked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Sen. John McCain for attending.

“Today is a national day of celebration and pride for the significant role that our Navajo Code Talkers played during World War II and we are pleased that the Arizona political leadership was here to join us in honoring our Nation’s greatest warriors,” Begay wrote in a statement.

“Their pride and patriotism for this country was as unbreakable as their code that helped the Allied Forces win the war. For that, we owe them a debt that can never be repaid,” Ducey said.

McCain tweeted about the event.

“Deeply honored to salute the Navajo Code Talkers today - our nation owes these heroes a debt we can never fully repay,” he wrote.

About 16 of the hundreds of Navajos who served as Code Talkers during the war still are alive today. The code was developed by an original group of 29 Navajo men recruited from the reservation.

Their role in the war wasn’t declassified until 1968.

Navajo Nation government employees get Friday as a day off.

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