Congress honors several AZ tribe code talkers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Congress honors several AZ tribe code talkers

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(Source: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick) (Source: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)
(Source: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick) (Source: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)

Representatives from several Indian tribes in northern Arizona were in Washington, DC, Wednesday to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Dozens of members of Congress, the military and others gathered in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall to honor 33 tribes for the wartime contributions of so-called code talkers.

American Indians used their native language to outwit enemies and protect American battlefield secrets during World Wars I and II.

Hopi, White Mountain Apache and Tonto Apache tribes from Arizona were among those recognized. Navajo code talkers previously received this honor in 2000.

House Speaker John Boehner said members of tribes from across the country served bravely during the world wars, using "the simplest weapon - their language" that no enemy was ever able to crack. He says thousands of lives were saved because of their bravery.

They couldn't even tell their families what an invaluable role they played in securing our freedoms.

The tribe said it's a great honor to finally share their story in our American history.

Congress previously awarded the Gold Medal to code talkers in 2008. Wednesday's ceremony was for more than two dozen tribes not included in that initial honor.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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