Vienna, VA (PRWEB) June 15, 2012
On the occasion of his 89th birthday and 69th anniversary as a decorated fighter pilot in the famous "Flying Knights" fighter squadron, Richard C. Kirkland announces the completion of “Wide Place in the Road.” (ISBN: 1463649347) Having written and published numerous short stories and four books about his experiences, Kirkland claims this is his "finest and most intriguing."
The author describes life along the road in a small mountain community in California during the Great Depression. Protagonist Jessie Rascoe and his friends learn friendship and honor as Boy Scouts, and the three R’s at their one room school on Grapevine Creek. The boys swim in cattle watering troughs and have a secret cave. But discovering girls brings changes and Jessie becomes romantically involved with a rag tag mountain girl, Maria Hunter, and a beautiful rich girl, Hallie Lamont.
Jessie attends college as war clouds gather, but depression era life continues with roasted squirrel for survival in “Hobo Camps.” When America suffers an emotional and logistical upheaval after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Grapevine Road youth respond to their nations call and their lives are changed forever. Jessie becomes an Army Air Corps fighter pilot. Hallie becomes a WASP pilot. Maria is a "Rosie the Riveter." Jessie’s best friend, Alvin Pyeatt, is killed in action.
Jessie is sent to the South West Pacific and assigned to the famous "Flying Knights" fighter squadron with America’s top ace, Richard Bong -- where Kirkland himself served. He describes living in the New Guinea Jungle, and the deadly challenge of aerial combat with the Japanese Zero.
Jessie excels as a combat pilot and is sent home to receive the Medal of Honor. When he meets Hallie, emotions soar. But at the aircraft factory where he finds Maria, emotions explode! Promising he will come home to her, Jessie returns to his squadron but is shot down in an isolated section of the New Guinea jungle and taken captive by primitive natives.
After eight months of captivity, Jessie escapes to an isolated catholic mission where he hides from the Japanese. But there he is faced with multiple challenges, including a young missionary, Stephanie, who falls in love. The war has been over for months before Jessie finally escapes the jungle. Having long been listed as "killed in action," what awaits him? The ending is powerful.
Kirkland admits, “I lived much of this story so after years went by and the bad memories faded, I realized it should be told. But only someone who lived it could write it -- and I’m probably the only one left to do it.”
“Wide Place in the Road” is available online in print and as an e-book on Amazon.com.
Richard C. Kirkland grew up on the Grapevine Road. He flew 103 combat missions in the famous Flying Knights Fighter Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals and many others. He has written and published numerous short stories, articles, and five books. “Richard Kirkland flies you from one gripping adventure to the next,” said famous author Walter Boyne of Kirkland's writing style. Richard painted and sketched his surroundings all during the war. Some of that rare artwork is shown in Wide Place in the Road. He is remarkably active, speaks regularly and appears on radio and TV. He and wife Maria, have 9 children, 16 grandchildren, and a great grandson. They reside in Vienna, VA.
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