This required the Navajo code-talkers to come up with new words for things like battleships and airplanes, which had never been part of traditional Navajo culture.
Some of these men were too old to be in the military, or too young, but they volunteered to serve anyway. This was an era when people from every background considered themselves Americans and wanted to help defend this country.
We can only hope that there are many more such people now, ready to serve both their country and their people, and that they will see to it that those promising young Navajo boys end up knowing all they need to know in order to be all that they can be.
Unfortunately, in this age of "multiculturalism," there are too many outsiders who want all sorts of cultures to be frozen where they are, preserved like museum exhibits.
Worse yet, too many multiculturalists want many groups to cling to their historic grievances, if not be defined by them.
But among the many ways that various groups around the world have advanced from poverty to prosperity, nursing historic grievances does not have a promising track record -- except for those who make a career out of keeping grievances alive.
The youngsters we saw deserve better than that.