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At 101, family matriarch continues to be a proud veteran

At 101, family matriarch continues to be a proud veteran
Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero World War II veteran Sgt. Sophie Yazzie, 101, who lives with her daughter in Tucson, Ariz., watches the 71st annual Iwo Jima Flag Raising parade Saturday in Sacaton, Ariz. Yazzie served in the Women’s Army Air Corps.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
World War II veteran Sgt. Sophie Yazzie, 101, who lives with her daughter in Tucson, Ariz., watches the 71st annual Iwo Jima Flag Raising parade Saturday in Sacaton, Ariz. Yazzie served in the Women’s Army Air Corps.

WINDOW ROCK

At the age of 101, Sophie Yazzie continues to do things she feels are important, which is why she was in Sacaton, Ariz. over the weekend helping to commemorate the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima during World War II.

It was Ira Hayes Day on the Gila River Indian Community but Yazzie made an impression to many in attendance by her participation as the oldest living veteran of World War II to attend the event.

World War II veteran Sgt. Sophie Yazzie, who is now 101, is showed here in 1945 in uniform.

World War II veteran Sgt. Sophie Yazzie, who is now 101, is showed here in 1945 in uniform.

She also had that same honor the year before when she attended the event.

A member of the Woman’s Army Air Force Corp, Yazzie has shown over the past several decades that the two things she most cares about – her family and her pride in being a veteran – are something that she will go out of her way to celebrate.

When she had her 100th birthday, it was celebrated at the Wheatfields Chapter House to accommodate her four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as the more than 140 friends and community members who wanted to be on hand to celebrate this occasion.

“She’s still active,” said her daughter Kathleen Lampert, adding that although she has to use a walker to get around.

Her mind is still sharp and when she was interviewed by phone Tuesday night, she remembered minute details of her life on the reservation, in boarding school and in the service.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay stands next to a sculpture dedicated to Ira H. Hayes Saturday at the 71st annual Iwo Jima Flag Raising ceremony in Sacaton, Ariz. “The flag raising was on the 23rd, 10:30(a.m.) by the Marines under fire. The bigger flag was raised at 12:30 (p.m.) bigger flag. I was there in 1945,” Begay said.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay stands next to a sculpture dedicated to Ira H. Hayes Saturday at the 71st annual Iwo Jima Flag Raising ceremony in Sacaton, Ariz. “The flag raising was on the 23rd, 10:30(a.m.) by the Marines under fire. The bigger flag was raised at 12:30 (p.m.) bigger flag. I was there in 1945,” Begay said.


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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.

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