As it’s Veteran’s Day weekend, I’d like to honor my dad, Emil M. Navor, who was in the US Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps in the Pacific arena during World War II. Of course he often joked that Army intelligence, counter or otherwise, was an oxymoron.
Dad never spoke about any specifics of the war, or gave any details of his duties or assignments. But he did have a few hair raising tales. These are things he’d say when he was very relaxed…sometimes at the dinner table, or perhaps when he was settled comfortably in a lawn chair after a family barbeque or picnic. He said it wasn’t all that unusual for him to have been behind enemy lines and how scary that had been. More than once, he’d be laying, soaking wet, in a rice paddy while enemy transports rumbled by on a dirt road not more than twenty-five feet away. One time he and his Army buddies were walking on a road in the Philippines and an Japanese fighter jet came out of nowhere, diving at them, strafing the road. He and his buddies dove into the mud and muck in the field on the side of the road and none of them were hit.
He loved the Philippines and it’s people. He brought home a machete from that island nation and I now proudly display it on my bookshelf in front of some of my favorite mystery novels.
I’d also like to honor my uncle Nicholas Novogrodsky who died after the attack on Pearl Harbor but in the waters not far from that base when his plane went down. He was my mother’s younger brother. I wasn’t exactly named for him. Nicola would’ve been the choice had that been the case, but my parents were on the eclectic side, you see. However, the letter “N” was chosen for my first name to honor and remember him. The village of Woodridge, NY, where he grew up and went to high school named a road “Novogrodsky Road” after him as a remembrance. My mother and grandmother never really got over his loss. You see, freedom has a heavy price. It’s not free.
I have a love of the World War II era and the 1940s. That’s why I wrote a post WWII historical whodunit series set on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Book number one of that series, BURNING HEARTS, features a WWII hero who comes home only to find powerful people have framed him for arson/murder.