Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Veterans Day 2016

This Friday is Veterans Day. November 11, 2016.

My grandfather served in WWI and WWII.
My dad served in the Korean War. My uncles Terry and Jerry served in Viet Nam. (All of my dad’s four brothers served in the military.)
When my generation of young men and women were of “going to war age,” the U.S. had relative peace- no wars to fight.
Veterans Day dislplay at the LeClaire
Community Library
My nephew, Jake served in Afghanistan, where he earned a Purple Heart. My son-in-law Phil, still active duty, served in Afghanistan, too. My son, Nate, and nephew-in-law, Corey, serve on the front lines right here in Iowa.

God bless those who are willing to confront the bad in order to protect the good.

On that same note to honor and pay tribute, I created a Veterans Day book display at work (The LeClaire Community Library.) I chose books that gave first-hand accounts of events… Also Known As: When shit goes down.
The summaries of the following books are courtesy of Goodreads.

FLYBOYS: A True Story of Courage by James D. Bradley
This acclaimed bestseller brilliantly illuminates a hidden piece of World War II history as it tells the harrowing true story of nine American airmen shot down in the Pacific. One of them, George H. W. Bush, was miraculously rescued. What happened to the other eight remained a secret for almost 60 years. 

LONE SURVIVOR: The Eyewittness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson
On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. 

NO EASY DAY: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen, Kevin Maurer
No Easy Day puts readers alongside Owen, of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group--commonly known as SEAL Team Six, and the other handpicked members of the twenty-four-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives. The blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended Owen's life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death, is an essential piece of modern history.
BAND OF BROTHERS: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose
As good a rifle company as any, Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, US Army, kept getting tough assignments--responsible for everything from parachuting into France early DDay morning to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. In "Band of Brothers," Ambrose tells of the men in this brave unit who fought, went hungry, froze & died, a company that took 150% casualties & considered the Purple Heart a badge of office. Drawing on hours of interviews with survivors as well as the soldiers' journals & letters, Stephen Ambrose recounts the stories, often in the men's own words, of these American heroes.
FLAG OF OUR FATHERS By James D. Bradley, Ron Powers
In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima—and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag.
Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever.

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it the surge. “Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences,” he told a skeptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers. About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them.

UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

ELEPHANT COMPANY: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke
Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a “forest man” for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant wallah.”  
When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. …In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim.

People, I challenge you to read at least one of these books. Use your hard-earned American freedom to read whatever you want! I’ve read Unbroken already. It was not an easy read and because of that, I still cannot watch the Unbroken movie. I’m going to start at the top of this list and read Flyboys next. My dad was an Air Force man and my son-in-law still is.

Until next time,

Thank A Veteran.


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