Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present

Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present

Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present

Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present

Synopsis

Even as we celebrate the return of our military from wars in the Middle East, we are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles that await veterans on the home front. Red, White, and True offers readers a collection of voices that reflect the experiences of those touched by war- from the children of veterans who encounter them in their fathers' recollections of past wars to the young men and women who fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The diversity of perspectives collected in this volume validates the experiences of our veterans and their families, describing their shared struggles and triumphs while honoring the fact that each person's military experience is different.
Leila Levinson's powerful essay recounts her father's experience freeing a POW camp during World War II. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tracy Kidder provides a chilling account of being a new second lieutenant in Vietnam. Army combat veteran Brooke King recounts the anguish of raising her young children by day while trying to distinguish between her horrific memories of IED explosions in Baghdad and terrifying dreams by night.
These individual stories of pain and struggle, along with twenty-nine others, illustrate the inescapable damage that war rends in the fabric of society and celebrate our dauntless attempts to repair these holes with compassion and courage.

Excerpt

Matt Farwell

It’s three in the morning, and I am falling hard into a five-foot ditch. Like a cartoon character, legs splaying out in front of me, I land square on my back. the wind is knocked out of my chest. Luckily, the body armor and my helmet absorb most of the impact, and before the last profanity can even leave my mouth, the machine gunner walking fifteen meters next to me is there, pulling me up. Under the weight of sixtyfive pounds of weapons, ammunition, body armor, and gear, I stumble to my feet and continue walking toward the mountain that we have to climb. We are looking for Taliban activity. It’s not even light out yet, and I’m sweating my ass off, dirty and tired, hands and legs filled with tiny thorns. This day already sucks. Welcome to Afghanistan. As Drill Sergeant Berg would say, during rainy nights at Fort Benning, “Welcome to the motherfuckin’ infantry.”

Before I was climbing mountains in full battle rattle and falling in ditches, I shared a dive apartment with a capricious college roommate. Dwayne was touched, slightly. He liked to break plates and scream randomly at passersby from our second-story window. the apartment, in a rapidly gentrifying locale but still clinging to its shady, ghetto roots, was littered with the detritus of two overeducated children of privilege: books and papers stacked on every flat surface not already occupied with beer bottles, a sink overflowing with dishes, polo shirts and khakis strewn on the floor. Life was fun but filled with a certain amount of melancholy, the material maelstrom inside the apartment acting as a window into my conflicted brain. I’d never been particularly happy in college, and by the middle of my third year, things were beginning to reach a boiling point. the apartment and what went on there were just the physical manifestations of that slow boil.

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