President George W. Bush salutes Navajo Code Talkers. Courtesy/JSPL
In honor of all veterans and Native American Heritage Month, Jemez Springs Public Library is pleased to present a talk by author Judith Avila and Latham Nez, grandson of the last code talker, Chester Nez who passed away in June this year.
Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez and author Judith Avila. Courtesy/JSPL
The event is 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15 at Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church.
They will talk about Nez’s memoir of his experiences as a code talker, one of the Native American heroes of World War II.
Chester Nez was the last survivor of the original 29 Navajo code talkers of WWII – the men who developed the only unbroken code in modern warfare. During World War II, the Japanese managed to crack every code the U.S. military used. But when the Marines turned to their Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret language, the men stymied the enemy and helped to assure victory for the United States in the South Pacific.
After a career working at the VA hospital in Albuquerque, he lived with his son’s family in his later years. The family believes it is very important for the legacy of the code talkers to be remembered. Talking about the book, coauthored by Nez and Judith Avila, is a way to do so, to honor Chester Nez’s memory and the remarkable story of all the code talkers.
Code Talker book cover. Courtesy/JSPL
Nez’s prizewinning memoir, Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by one of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII, shares his inspirational view of history, pulling the reader into the foxhole with the legendary men who developed a code that not even other Navajos could break.
Avila, a graduate of Duke University, met Chester Nez in 2007. She and Chester conducted three years of interviews. A former air traffic controller and computer consultant, She recorded Chester’s stories and committed them to paper. Code Talker, named by New Mexico Press Women as 2012’s best memoir, and winner of the New Mexico-Arizona book Awards, is her first published book.
Avila has completed four novels and is working on a fifth. She also works as a New Mexico Humanities Council Chautauquan, giving talks about the Navajo code talkers. She lives in Tijeras.
The talk will be followed the opportunity to talk with the author and Latham Nez and buy copies of the book. This event is made possible with the generous support of the Friends of Jemez Springs Public Library.
Donations are appreciated but not required: all library programs are FREE to the public.
The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII. Courtesy/JSPL