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Members of the Navajo Code Talkers Association salute during the Democratic National Convention in 2008. PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Arizona has adopted a new state holiday to honor Navajo Nation members who used their language to pass on coded messages during World War II.

Driving the news: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation on Monday that designates Aug. 14 "Navajo Code Talkers Day."

  • If Aug. 14 doesn't fall on a Sunday, the day will be observed the following Sunday.
  • Proponents have been urging the state to adopt a holiday since President Ronald Reagan declared Navajo Code Talkers Day by presidential proclamation on Aug. 14, 1982.

What they're saying: “The Navajo Code Talkers are American heroes. They assisted on every major operation involving the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theatre, using their native language to come up with an unbreakable code," Ducey said in a statement.

  • "Their crucial service during WWII will not be forgotten, and we will continue to honor them every August 14th," said state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai (D-Ariz.), a Navajo Nation member who sponsored the bill.

Flashback: The U.S. government recruited and enlisted more than 400 Navajo men to serve in standard communications units.

  • The Navajo Code Talkers used their code to assist in major operations involving the U.S. Marines in the Pacific Ocean theatre, including during the battle at Iwo Jima.
  • A dozen of Hopi and members of other tribes also used their own codes.

Go deeper

44 mins ago - World

Biden backs Gaza ceasefire for first time in call with Netanyahu

Biden with Netanyahu in 2010. Photo: Debbi Hill/Pool/ Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call on Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

Why it matters: This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis last Monday that Biden or anyone in his administration has publicly backed a ceasefire. It will increase pressure on Israel to seek an end to the conflict, which Netanyahu has insisted will continue until Hamas' ability to attack Israel is further degraded.

3 hours ago - World

Schumer: "I want to see a ceasefire"

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Monday he wants to "see a ceasefire reach quickly and mourn the loss of life."

Why it matters: Schumer is a staunch defender of Israel and has maintained that Israel should be able to defend itself.

5 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad

Photo: Ole Spata/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

President Biden will send an additional 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to other countries by the end of June, including shots authorized by the FDA for use in the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Why it matters: It will be the first time the U.S. has sent Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses abroad. The administration previously announced plans to export 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been authorized domestically.