WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Navajo Codetalkers are scheduled to receive long-awaited Congressional silver medals at the Navajo Nation Veterans' Day Celebration on November 11, 2003.
New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced the "Honoring the Navajo Code talkers Act," which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2003.
The act recognizes the Codetalkers and presents the original Codetalkers with gold medals, and those who trained and were eligible to be Codetalkers with silver medals.
Wayne Saltwater, from the Office of Veterans, said that all the gold medals have been awarded, but former Navajo Marines are still coming forward to be recognized as Codetalkers.
Those who are confirmed by the Commander of the United States of Marines are eligible to receive silver medals.
The Congressional Gold and Silver Medals are designed specifically for the recipient. Saltwater said the gold medals are worth $30,000 and the silver medals are worth about $15,000.
The celebration is being coordinated by Fort Defiance Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of the Speaker, and the Office of Miss Navajo.
It will actually start on Monday night with the Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Window Rock Sports Center and a candlelight vigil ceremony at the Veterans Park in Window Rock.
Tickets for the ball are being sold by Veterans Affairs. It will begin at 5 p.m. The march will start at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Bank and proceed to the Veterans Park. The band Midnight Cry will perform at the Veterans Park.
Veterans Day will begin with a Dawn Ceremony at 6:30 a.m. at the Veterans Park.
From there, at about 8 a.m., a parade will make its way to the Window Rock Sports Center.
At the Sports Center, Miss Navajo Marla Billey will serve a continental breakfast. Any royalty throughout the Navajo Nation is invited to contact Miss Navajo to help serve families and relatives of military personnel.
The Navajo Nation President, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council and the Navajo Nation Chief Justice are scheduled to address the audiences starting at 10 a.m.
Delivering the keynote address will be Brigadier General Jan D. Eakle who served as a commander at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., from Sept. 2000 to Jan. 2002. She is currently Vice Commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center in Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
A fly-over by the Kirtland Air Force Base will occur at 11 a.m.
A barbeque luncheon will be provided at the fairgrounds barbeque pit around noon. Various musical bands and performers will entertain at the food pavilion from noon to 8 p.m
After the luncheon, a gourd honor dance in the Nakai Hall and a song and dance in the Song and Dance Arena will take place..
Miss Navajo and the Blue Star Mothers will prepare the care packages for send off to the troops in the afternoon.
The Office of the Speaker, Miss Navajo, and the Blue Star Mothers continue to accept donations for the care packages.