Legislator Bridget Fleming invited local singer Michelle Thomas (featured to her left) to sing the National Anthem in the Navajo language at the December 6th General Meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature. Thomas is a member of the Navajo tribe who now lives in the Shinnecock Territory in the Second Legislative District. Legislator Fleming said, “this month we will be commemorating the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and will honor the heroes who lost their lives along with the brave soldiers who fought valiantly throughout World War II. These heroes include Navajo Code Talkers who played a critical role in helping the Allies toward victory, by intercepting and relaying messages to key points of contact in order to mobilize resources and help complete missions.”
Code Talkers of the Navajo were uniquely integral to aiding the Marines at the Battle of Iwo Jima. They used sophisticated code translations in Navajo to communicate key strategic messages to their fellow Marines, allowing the U.S. to achieve victory against enemy submarines and suicide bombers. Code Talkers were sworn to secrecy until just 4 years ago. Thomas knows personally the last two remaining Navajo Code Talkers, and through her work, she helps continue their story of honor, sacrifice, and service to our country.
Suffolk County is home to many ancestral lands belonging to indigenous communities, including the Shinnecock, Puspatuck and Montaukett Tribes, among others. “I am so pleased that Michelle is able to grace us with her talents today. She inspires people across the country to recognize our collective ideals through song,” said Legislator Fleming.
Featured (from L-R): Michelle Thomas, Leg. Bridget Fleming