ANTLERS, OK -- The state of Oklahoma honored an elite group of Choctaw men today that played vital roles in turning the tide in World War I.
Friday morning Oklahoma renamed the 55-mile stretch of Highway 3 between Antlers and Broken Bow, the "World War I Choctaw Code Talkers Highway."
"It is a wonderful day in history and I am so excited and the people of the Choctaw Nation are excited because this is a part of history, that cannot be written again." said Choctaw Code Talkers Association President Nuchi Nashoba.
In 1917, Choctaw Indians were not citizens of the US and their language was considered obsolete.
"They were punished and were sent to boarding school and then to think that language helped win the war is to me just a revelation." said Nashoba.
During World War I, the Germans decoded ally messages until Choctaw soldiers used their native language as code for military messages, leaving the Germans' wiretaps useless and helping bring an end to the war.
"It was so effective that we were able to win the war months ahead of time, to scholars we probably saved over 200,000 casualties." said Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle.
"To think about those young Choctaw warriors in World War I they made a difference and played a big role in our democracy." said Oklahoma State Representative R.C. Pruett "Thank goodness they were available at that time and that culture and that spirit still prevails within the Choctaw Nation."
To the Choctaw Nation the sign and highway brings a sense of pride.
"When I pass through and I see that World War I Choctaw Code Talker Highway sign, it makes me proud." said Nashoba.
Decedent of a Choctaw Code Talker, Nashoba, says they have a lot more to accomplish.
"A lot of people know about the Navajo Code Talkers, but we are talking the original. We are talking World War I code talkers, so we haven't finished yet."