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Shining the light on heroes of WW II

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By Kirsten Laskey

They came up with an unbreakable code that helped end a world war and then they were cast into the shadows of the public’s consciousness, until now.

The Circle of Light Project and Mesa Public Library are shining the light on the Navajo Code Talkers in an exhibit, titled “Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes ee The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II,” that opened last week.

To commemorate the event, Chester Naz, one of the original 29 code talkers, made an appearance at the opening reception, which was held May 3.

Chester said he served in the military from 1942-1945. During World War II, Chester said he was stationed all over the Pacific. Afterwards, he stayed in a hospital for six months, got his discharged papers and was sent home. “It took me a long time to get back on my feet,” he said.

However, Chester moved forward, he returned home to Kansas, finished high school and worked for a fine arts degree at the University of Kansas. He eventually returned to the reservation and helped his sister take care of sheep and livestock.

Later, he worked at VA hospital for 28 years and currently lives with his son, Michael.

When he was first discharged, Chester said he didn’t talk about the work he had done because it was classified.


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