Life wasn’t easy for me. There were temptations and troubles in my home. There were tears and sorrows in my heart, and my pride was very hurt by my failures. But I tried to keep faith in the Indian religion of my fathers.
I grew up surrounded by the traditional ways of our people. In my youth, I heard the old stories handed down by our elders. They differed depending on a person’s recollection, but they focused mostly on the creation around us. I was told we came from the earth. As a young man I had so many questions.
When I smell the smoke from the wood fire in the winter, it reminds me of the times when I was a little boy living in our hogan. It was during the winter season that the stories of the elders were passed down to the younger generation. I would listen to my grandfather teach us the history and ways of our people. Now I am an elder, and it is my responsibility to pass along the important truths for this life and the life to come.
My name is Roy Hawthorne. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation. I am honored to have served my country through my military service in both World War II and the Korean War. I volunteered to serve in an elite group known as the Navajo Code Talkers.