A Native American festival drew crowds to Blount County Public Library throughout the day April 25 as veterans were honored and a member of the Navajo Marine Code Talkers who helped win World War II spoke.
Code talker Samuel T. Holiday shared memories of his time serving in the Pacific during World War II. He was in Iwo Jima and sent back messages to his 4th Marine Division from behind enemy lines, giving strategic information through codes the Japanese could not decipher.
During the April 25 event, Holiday answered questioned and shared with veterans and members of the military. Veterans also were honored during a processional at the beginning of the program.
Native American dances were demonstrated and members of the public even got to participate. Native American dancers, drummers, flutists, guitarists, singers, storytellers and crafts and arts exhibitors shared their skills and memories at the daylong festival. The festival included about 100 Native American performers from various tribes.
In addition, the celebration focused on contributions made by military service personnel from all ethnic groups and backgrounds.
On his website at http://www.samuelholiday.com/, Holiday explains the use of the Navajo language for the Code Talkers.