hard to describe his reaction. It is a big time
honor," added Bruce, speaking in a heavy Southern
accent. "I think inside he's probably excited. It's
more of a humble acceptance for him. He doesn't really
think he deserves the medal."
the ceremony, Cooper said, "This award is given to
Mr. Yazzie for genuine heroic and unselfish
Yazzie said his father never talked about his
experiences as a code talker but that he is getting more
publicity now that the story is out.
the last few years I've heard bits and pieces of
stories. He didn't really discuss it a whole lot,"
said Bruce Yazzie.
Yazzie, also interviewed over the telephone, began to
cry as he told stories of his time in the war as a code
me I don't think I deserve this medal," said Robert
Yazzie. "I was like just any other boys there. I
was just doing my job."
Yazzie is originally from Crystal, N.M. He attended Good
Shepherd Mission school in Fort Defiance as a boy and a
Farmington Academy as a young man. Once he graduated
from high school, a recruiter persuaded him to join the
said that he didn't get much training in sending
messages or coding but went right into combat at Guam.
"We got practical training," he said.
Yazzie had a stroke about seven years ago which hinders
his speech and he is paralyzed on his right side.
at the hospital call me a hero but I don't feel like a
hero," Yazzie said, laughing.
revealed stories of close encounters with combat. He
said a bullet flew over his head.
guy must not have been a very good shot," he said,
also recalled herding sheep for his grandmother and
tending to the family livestock.
had a good life with a lot of experiences," He
said he personally doesn't like war because of the
killing he witnessed but admits that in order for a
government to get what it wants people must die.
Yazzie, who grew up in Tennessee, said the Navajo
culture was never introduced in his home as a child. But
he does attend the few Native American functions held in