Memorial Day Reading

Quiet Memorial Day morning in the store.  I hope that means our customers are remembering our veterans and heroes.  As I struggle to come to peace with sending my eighteen year old son off to college soon, I have a new appreciation for all of the parents who have sent their children off to war.  I cannot say thank you, that seems like the wrong sentiment, but my eyes fill with tears considering your sacrifice. For those whose children are currently serving our country, know my prayers join yours for their safety.

I’ve pulled several books from the shelves for appropriate Memorial Day reading.  One that looks particularly interesting is by Bill Murphy Jr.  In A Time of War  (Henry Holt & Co. 2008) about the “the proud and perilous journey of West Point’s Class of 2002.”  It is described as a powerful tale about the young officers who bear the burden of our twenty-first century wars.  It follows the stories of several soldiers and their families, and would certainly add a personal perspective to our current wars in Afganistan and Iraq.

The Coldest Winter(Hyperion, 2007) by the renowned historian David Halberstam addresses our least understood and frequently forgotten Korean conflict.  A deceased favorite  customer, Robert Renfro, was a Korean war veteran and prisoner of war, and because of his stories and my respect for his interests,  I  have added this book to my pile to read.  It is a weighty volume, but Halberstam is an easily read historian/sports writer, and I am looking forward to this history lesson.

The book Flyboys, A true Story of Courage (Little Brown and Co, 2003) by James Bradley has literally been flying off our table recently, reminding me that it is another recent military classic.  Bradley also wrote Flags of Our Fathers.  We still have one first edition copy of Flyboys on the shelf, so call if you are interested.  Bradley is  famous for putting a human face to war, this story is also of World War II and nine American flyers shot down while bombing Japanese communication towers on the remote island of Chichi Jima. It is a story of the complexities of war, honor, and brutality. 

Finally, for its obvious Memorial Day appropriateness, I picked up The Wall, Images and Offerings from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Collins Publishers, 1987) .  Mostly photographs, it is a powerful reminder of a powerful memorial – if you have not been there in person you should at least check out this book.


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