BELLEMONT, Ariz. - More than 300 people gathered at the Arizona Veteran's Memorial Cemetery at Fort Navajo in Bellemont Thursday to give their respects to Sgt Maj Dan Akee, a Navajo Code Talker from World War II.
Among the visitors were over 70 motorcycle riders, including over 30 of the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders, a group that works alongside veterans' families to improve the quality of life. They also will ride as an escort for veterans who have passed away.
Akee died Friday in Tuba City, where he was from. He fought in the Pacific theater in World War II, including the famous battle of Iwo Jima. At his burial, his wife poured sand from Iwo Jima over his casket before it was covered.
Akee was 96 years old.
During his time in WWII, he was part of the vital team of Code Talkers, who played key roles in defeating the Japanese forces by preventing critical information and strategies from being decoded by the enemies. The code was never broken.
For more information about the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders, you can visit their Facebook page.