Seminole Nation Remembers One Of America's Last WWII Code Talkers

Friday, April 11th 2014, 5:59 pm
By: News 9

The nephew of one of America's last remaining World War II code talkers spoke to News 9 Friday about his uncle's legacy.

Edmond Andrew Harjo, known commonly as Andrew, died March 31, 2014 at the age of 97. In November of 2013, the United States Congress recognized Andrew for using his language to throw off Nazi soldiers in war-torn Europe. House Speaker John Boehner honored the veteran and 33 tribes with the Congressional Gold Medal during the November ceremony.

"He, himself, never thought of himself as a hero," nephew Richard Harjo said.

Richard said his uncle was fluent in the Seminole dialect of the Muskogee-Creek language. The language itself is considered one of the most effective weapons of World War II. Andrew saw his place in history as an attempt to achieve peace rather than claim victory, according to Richard.

"I looked at him as a person of eloquence," Richard said.

Andrew's code-talking service started in France when Andrew heard a fellow serviceman singing a familiar Christian song in a familiar language. Richard said Andrew asked the serviceman if they could sing together. An officer later overheard a conversation between the two American Indians and quickly assigned the men to separate ends of a radio.

"When we speak our language, we speak heart-to-heart," Richard said.

Andrew is the first person to be buried at a cemetery for Seminole Nation veterans. It's a place he can finally receive the peace he sought and talked about shortly before his death.

"He asked me is this peace," said Richard. "I said … as far as I can tell you about peace, that's what it is."

Edmond Andrew Harjo was 97 years old. He was a member of the 195th Field Artillery Battalion.