WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren will honor the life and service of the longest-living and highly-decorated Navajo veteran of the Women’s Army Corps.
The President proclaimed March 10, 2023, Lillian Lujan Day, a day of recognition and remembrance of Women’s Army Corps Sergeant E-5 Lillian L. Lujan, who passed away on Monday, March 6. She was 104.
Mrs. Lujan was Ashiihnii (Salt People Clan), born for Tabaahaa (Water Edge People). Originally from Coalmine, Ariz., Mrs. Lujan was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Young.
She attended Albuquerque Indian School and New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M. After graduation she joined the Women’s Army Corps on Jan. 28, 1943. She served in the Detachment 3809th Command Unit.
She served as an occupational counselor and was stationed in Gallup, N.M., Tulsa, Okla., and Fort Sam Houston, Tex.
Mrs. Lujan was Honorably Discharged on Dec. 4, 1945. She was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Victory Ribbon, American Theater Campaign Medal and the Women’s Army Corp Ribbon.
“The Navajo Nation and Navajo people are so proud of its veterans,” President Nygren said. “But we are especially proud to honor and recognize those of the Greatest Generation like Lillian Lujan who selflessly left the safety of the remote Navajo Reservation of the 1940s, entered World War II and served to protect their homeland and the United States.
“Mrs. Lujan lived a full life to 104 years,” he said. “We all regret her passing and the opportunity to meet one of the last veterans of an historic era. Yet we honor her today and will remember her.”
Mrs. Lujan resided in Taos, N.M., in Taos Pueblo with her late husband Jimmy K. Lujan, Sr. Mr. Lujan was also a World War II veteran, POW and survivor of the Bataan Death March.
She is survived by her son Jimmy K. Lujan, Jr., and his wife Lucy M. Lujan of Fruitland, N.M., daughters Marilyn L. Atcitty of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Karilyn L. Haozous of Albuquerque, N.M.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jimmy K. Lujan, Sr., parents Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Young and her son Jeffery E. Lujan.
Mrs. Lujan was known as a beloved friend, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother.
“The Navajo Nation, the states of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as the United States have lost a true warrior,” said Olin Kieyoomia, executive staff assistant for Veterans Affairs in the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.
“On Behalf of OPVP, we send our sincere condolences to Mrs. Lujan’s family and friends,” he said. “The Navajo Nation thanks the late Jimmy K. Lujan, Sr., for his extraordinary sacrifice and service. We offer our special thanks to the Pueblo of Taos, as well, for caring for Mrs. Lujan.”
On Navajo Nation Women Veterans Day, March 20, in honor of her distinguished service to the Navajo Nation, the Office of the President and Vice President and the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration will make a posthumous award presentation to the family of Sergeant E-5 Lillian L. Lujan. It will take place at Twin Arrows Casino and Resort.
Funeral Services will be Thursday, March 9, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Rivera Family Funeral Home located at 818 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, N.M.
Military internment will follow on Friday, March 10, at 10 a.m. at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.