Honoring the Greatest Generation
By Jeff Salter
Today is a day we set aside for remembering that fateful day in 1776 when our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and formally split the new nation America from the rule of England’s King and Parliament and military.
Well, here’s what I had to say last year about Independence Day:
And near the bottom of that post is a link to my 2011 blog (two years ago) which features a condensed article about those Founding Fathers and how much they sacrificed when they publicly put their names to that Declaration.
By the way, when I was a kid, I went to the National Archives and saw the original Declaration document — behind heavy glass, of course. It was a thrill then and I’m still proud to say I’ve actually seen the original.
My tributes to the greatest generation
But today, I want to celebrate America’s freedom in a slightly different way: by referring to my two recently published efforts to pay tribute to the greatest generation — those in the military and on the homefront. These were the folks who suffered through the Great Depression and sacrificed during World War II. It was the generation of my parents, aunts and uncles, teachers, pastors, neighbors — all those who were such an important part of my upbringing.
The first of these is my full-length novel, Called to Arms Again, which features characters from ages 18 to 88. It has action, humor, and a bit of romance. Published by Astraea Press at the end of May 2013.
Grit doesn’t fade away … it just becomes crusty. With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II. Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.
Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veterans Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back. While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.
Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.
Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country. The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.
A companion piece
Hardly a month after my novel was released, Astraea published my short companion piece to C2AA. It’s called Echo Taps and features the very touching (and brief) relationship between my C2AA heroine, Kelly, when she was a young girl, and her beloved elderly uncle (who’d been at Hickam Field during the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941).
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?
Both the novel and the companion piece – along with my two other novels – can be found here: