S is an excellent place to start Retire the Colors is a collection of non fiction short stories by veterans of Ira and Afghanistan as well as spouses and other civilians connected to those wars In the stories they try to make sense of the war their uties and especially their life after war Among my favorites are NUMB3RS by Brooke King gunner in Ira in response to a uestion by an old man How many have you killed She A Study in Scandal (Scandalous deftly ties the story to an animal hit on the side of the road after she is home with her children in the car You Don t Have to Go There by David P Ervin Operation Irai Freedom veteran about car bombs in Ira and trying to adjust after he returns home It is a shortened version of his excellent book Leaving the Wire An Infantryman s Ira which I have read attempting to understand the Ira war and what the young men and women went through Listening for Home by Teresa Fazio a Marine Corp officer in Ira ties songs to her time in Ira with her home life afterwardAll nineteen stories were well written and thought provoking Most involve PTSD and helped me to better understand theisorder Having never been in the armed forces it is hard for me to imagine what the soldiers go through and how they Letting it Go deal with the horrors of war These stories give a good glimpse of the tough roads our veterans traverseuring war and especially post war. E an appeal to readers to witness with compassion the men and women who because of war possess the strength to show us what it means to be fully human Contributors include Tahani Alsandook Joseph R Bawden Brian Castner David Chrisinger David P Ervin Teresa Fazio CH Guise Colin D Halloran Lauren Kay Halloran Matthew J Hefti Brooke King Randy Leonard Eva KL Miller Stewart Moss Caitlin Pendola Mark Solheim Richard Allen Smith Christopher Stowe and Melissa Walke.
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Not easy but worthwhile It s not easy to read about the affects of what our society has asked of our servicepeople but they The One Who Stays (Summer Island, deserve our attention It was emotionallyifficult to read but I kept turning pages and wanting Wanting to connect and understand Imagine transitioning from a life where an approaching vehicle likely holds enemy gunmen to a life where that same vehicle is well simply a carOr picture yourself Shadow of the Wolf (Hearts Desire, diffusing explosives oneay and then wrestling and tickling your children anotherThese are some of the transitions that soldiers face when they leave active military service and return to civilian life In many ways the lives they have lived are a world apart As expected these transitions are not always easyRetire the Colors is a glimpse into the challenges faced by soldiers when it is time to come home These are the stories of veterans and in some cases civilians who work or live closely with veterans told in their own words The genuine voices sometimes blunt sometimes stark and often profound explore not just the healing of bodies minds and souls but also the return to a world away from warIt is a return often fraught with challenges These veterans continue to battle though these conflicts aren t waged with guns It is a fight for respect in the face of empty thanks It is a war for recognition of just how much has been sac. The impact of war and the lingering aftereffect it has on both veterans and civilians is for myriad reasons largely invisible to the public Popular media may create news cycles around horrors or stereotypes but the effort reuired to redefine and sustain “normal” lives after war stays below the surface and out of sight In Retire the Colors nineteen thought provoking stories by veterans and civilians consider the residual effects of Ira and Afghanistan A
Rificed and the weight they continue to bear They wrestle for understanding both within themselves and from the world around themBut these stories aren t merely tales of trauma They are also stories about finding purpose and joy in life after the military For some that comes through a natural continuation of service in the police force For others it comes in the form of art through painting or poetry And in some cases the authors of these essays men and women who have served their country who have given up much for the many things we all take for granted use these stories to reveal their hearts to usIn his essay Something on Something That s Something like Disillusionment Matthew J Hefti a 12 year veteran writes People are Smijurija u mjerama dying to be known and too manyie unknown That is a weighty observation on the human condition one filtered through the lens of war but universally true and apt These are not just essays about war and the soldiers who fight They are observations about life They are a gift earned with blood but given to us freelyThe introduction to the book ends with a call to help these veterans carry the load of their experience We need to find better ways to help them with their transitions But barring that at the very least we need a better awareness of what these people have given and what they continue to give Retire the Color. Acifist Speer describes herecision to accompany her husband an Ira veteran to the shooting range A hospital worker in Mosul talks about what happens on a hunting trip back home with his grandfather A veteran experiences the 2013 Boston marathon The wife of a combat medic considers their unusual nighttime routines A mother and former 50 cal gunner navigates truth and lies with her children These stories offer a grace uncommon in war literature today They also mak.