The Veteran Honor Banner Project recognizes Lakota Code Talker

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Banners honoring the men and women who served in their country are starting to go up in Rapid City, along with a special first-of-its-kind ceremony.

For the first time, the Veteran Honor Banner Project is recognizing a Lakota Code Talker.

The family of Garfield T. Brown was on hand as his banner was raised in front of the Firehouse Brewing Company. Brown served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

His son, Richard, says he’s proud to see his father recognized.

“To be from here and this region being a Oglala Lakota and a Code Talker, seeing his banner up here and his story being told, one of many that has to be told, is very humbling and I’m just very excited for him,” says Richard. “I wish he got a lot of these honors before he passed away.”

With many Native American languages not widely understood around the world, the U.S. Code Talkers played a crucial role in relaying messages to troops in the theater of battle without the code being cracked by enemy forces.

“With the regular army code it took anywhere from thirty-minutes to forty-five minutes to decode it,” says Brown. “To code, send it and decode it. With the code talkers translating their own language it only took anywhere from thirty-seconds to a minute to translate it and get a response to any enemy attack.”

Garfield T. Brown is also being honored during the 2021 anniversary of the landing on Omaha Beach.

Richard hopes to raise money to be able to be there for that ceremony.

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