Some of the code words were direct translations from English to Navajo or other Native languages. But the Code Talkers often had to invent words. For example, there is no Navajo word for "tank." Because a tank has a hard shell and moves along the ground, they called it a "wakare-ee," which means turtle.
The Code Talkers created and memorized the new code in a very short time. Using this secret language, they sent thousands of messages. None were ever decoded by enemy countries.
It took many years after the war before people knew about the Code Talkers. Their important work was kept secret and they were not even allowed to tell their own families about it.
Finally, in 1968, 26 years later, the military made the Code Talker program public. Those who served as Code Talkers were honored. Then, in 2001, the Navajo Code Talkers who were still alive were presented with Congressional Medals of Honor.
On the backs of the medals, in the Navajo language, is written, "With the Navajo language they defeated the enemy."
Source: worksheetsplus.com/Reading/4thReadingCodeTalkers.html Secret Code Talkers
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