Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Marine Samuel Holiday 90th Birthday

During the last day of May, the Dixie Detachment had the opportunity to help the Holiday family and friends celebrate the 90th birthday for their father, grandfather and great grandfather: Marine Samuel Holiday.  Marine Holiday is probably better known as one of the last and famous Marine Corps WWII "Code Talkers."  The "Code Talker" Program is considered one of the closest kept secrets in the Marine Corps during WWII.  Marine Holiday was with the 4th Marine Division during WWII and was with the Division when it invaded:  Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.   As many of you are aware, "Code Talkers" contributed greatly to the saving of Marines and Navy Corpsmen lives.  They maintained lines of communications between the Forward Observers, Platoon Leaders, and Company Commanders.  Most, if not all, received the Purple Heart, along with other individual  heroic awards.

When the war ended they returned home believing that their individual and heroic contributions on behalf of their country would soon be forgotten.  But this was not the case.  On August 14, 1982 President Ronald Reagan declared August 14, 1982, National Navajo Code Talkers Day.  Twelve years later the Navajo Nation proclaimed August 14th as the official day to honor and give special accolades annually to all members of the Navajo Code Talkers.  President Bill Clinton also capitalized on recognizing this group when he signed into law the Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers Act in 2000, which authorized a Congressional Gold Medal to the first Twenty-nine who devised the code and a silver medal for all other Code Talkers.  (The Congressional Gold Medal is not a military decoration but is the highest civilian award, determined by the majority of the U.S. Congress, that Congress can bestow to honor a particular individual or institution that performs an outstanding deed or act of service, and it requires congressional legislation.)  President George W. Bush broadened the scope of recognition by including over twenty other small groups of Native Americans who used their language to transmit important tactical information during combat.  He signed the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 on 15 October as a way of thanking all American Indians for their contribution during World Wars I and II.

Over 17 Detachment members joined me in this special gathering and we all considered It a pleasure to talk with Marine Holiday and his many relatives in attendance.  We have provided Samuel Holiday with the necessary application to become the newest member of the Dixie Detachment #1270, Marine Corps League.

Semper Fi!
D'Arcy Grisier, Commandant