“Born to the Navajo Nation, now a Marine — Private First Class Chester Nez — I’d never seen the ocean before enlisting,” recalled one of the original code talkers on a transport ship to Guadalcanal where the Japanese enemy waited in 1942. “I reminded myself that my Navajo people had always been warriors, protectors. In that there was honor. I would concentrate on being a warrior and on protecting my homeland.” Chester Nez died in 2014 at age 93. But his firsthand account lives on in “Code Talker,” the bestselling memoir with author Judith Schiess Avila, who recorded and transcribed 75 hours of tapes of his spoken words. Hear how his wartime story was preserved when author Judith Avila and Latham Nez, Chester’s grandson, present a New Mexico Humanities Council Speakers Bureau Program “Chester Nez: World War II Navajo Code Talker“ at 2 p.m. in the Collin Room of the Placitas Library on February 22. For details, visit placitaslibrary.com. (Photo of Chester Nez and Judith Avila).
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