By Jeff Salter
This week, we have a free space, which gives me a terrific opportunity to promote my newest release: Echo Taps. This is a short companion piece to my recent full-length novel, Called to Arms Again, which is my tribute to the greatest generation.
Echo Taps is partly a series of flashbacks which Kelly Randall experiences in the days leading up to the pivotal scenes of the full-length novel. In these flashbacks, she recalls several touching scenes with her elderly Uncle Edgar in the few years she knew him before his death. [In many ways, he was a full generation older than a typical uncle would have been, because Kelly’s mom was nearly a generation younger than her siblings.]
A part-time newspaper reporter, Kelly has to write a 12-page special section for Veterans Day and her main focus is on the veterans from the greatest generation who are dying at a rate of nearly 1000 per day. The key to her understanding of what military individuals experienced during World War II lies partly in her grasp of her uncle’s own involvement on the Day of Infamy — Edgar was stationed at Hickam Field, near Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
I have a very personal investment in this story and its main character. My wife’s Uncle Gene Williams was, in real-life, at Hickam Field during the Pearl Harbor attack. As a child growing up, my wife had always heard that her Uncle Gene “was blown out of his boots running to the chow hall.”
It was only as a mature adult that she first learned the true version of what her uncle experienced that day … and an understanding of why he did what he did.
Most of the Greatest Generation didn’t discuss their own war heroism. Her beloved elderly uncle died before he could explain why.
Kelly has just begun interviews for her special newspaper section in honor of upcoming Veterans Day, but she struggles to understand some of the larger issues of the war experience. Her boyfriend Mitch has a few insights, but he was never in combat.
Out of the blue, Kelly begins having flashbacks to heart-warming experiences with her beloved Uncle Edgar, a World War II veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack… but he’s been dead almost twenty years. Kelly also believes she’s hearing messages from her deceased Aunt Mildred, who took her in after Kelly’s parents died.
Kelly is aware that siblings Mildred and Edgar (very close in age) were rumored to have had a nearly telepathic connection with each other, and she knows her mother (born considerably later than Kelly’s aunt and uncle) had some extra-sensory perception. But did Kelly inherit any of those special senses?
Are Uncle Edgar and Aunt Mildred truly reaching back from beyond to help Kelly understand these complex issues? Or is Kelly just now remembering things long forgotten?
Why did Uncle Edgar tell the young family members such a different version of his actual experiences on December 7, 1941?
Will Kelly’s key interview with the American Legion Post commander just confuse her more… or help pull all these threads together?
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Interesting concept,Jeff;I had no idea you lent credence to psychic abilities.I know that we are spiritual being and believe that we all have some ‘extra sensory perception’,I just think that as some people have great senses of smell, taste, hearing, etc. some are a little more capable than others.(I also fear that some people use a lot of wishful thinking and flights-of-fancy, and then there is always the possibility of being misled by BAD, but I digress).
It is bought and downloaded.Now, if I can get through so much work, family complications and business with magazine editors,I am looking forward to delving into both of these, your most recent releases.
The WWII stories of our families and others should not be forgotten.
well, these are my characters, of course.
But, yeah, I’ve always been fascinated by ESP and related phenomena.
Thanks for purchasing these two tributes to the greatest generation. I hope you’ll share them with folks you may know who are IN that age group.
Wow,Jeff,I think I have lost everyone from that generation, but of course, there are those of us who grew up listening …or wondering.
I really wish I had comprehended more about the Pacific war when I was allowed — as a child — to look thru my Uncle Berry’s photo album from his days as a Sea Bee. It just looked like pictures of heavy equipment moving dirt. But I have no idea which island he was on, or at what time, and whether he was in danger from the enemy.
Congratulations Jeff. I really have to get my story about my grandpa written … I have a feeling you’d like it.
Sounds like another great book!
I would love to see your grandpa’s story, Iris.
One of the most interesting aspects of my WW2 research has been the recollections of the common soldier/sailor/airman from whichever nation he/she represented. The more I learn about that era the more I realize I still don’t know.
Sadly, most of the newest generation are being taught nearly nothing about the global war which shaped nearly every nation for generations to follow.
I subscribe to two magazines about WW2 and they have a wide array of articles from every imaginable perspective. After the “iron curtain” came down, researchers gained access to a treasure trove of Soviet archives which shed first light — to the western world — on several battles and campaigns which many people had barely heard of.
Mum’s talking to my girls about growing up during the war, not much (language barrier), but here and there. I think it’s important to her (and for me!) for them to know ‘both’ sides of the story.
I don’t know much about this time, it was a ‘taboo’ subject when I grew up. That’s why it’s important to get this story done !
I hope your Mum is also WRITING down some things. Oral is great, but can be forgotten or remembered with filters.
I’ve found it fascinating, for example, to read the diary (or letter) excerpts from both Russian & German soldiers involved in some of the battles which Americans heard very little about … at the time or since.
The mags I get are called “World War II” and “WW2 History”. Both by Weider Publications.
I really enjoyed your Greatest Generation blog, Jeff! Loved the bit about the old folks. :)) I will enjoy reading your stories!
Thanks, Janette. We’re eager to see you here when you get completely settled in.