Final Salute

I read a book last week. It broke my heart to even get through it. But I did get through it because I felt I owed it to the subjects of Final Salute, fallen Marines and their families, to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice they made.

It is not a book about the war in Iraq. And I’m not here to discuss that or even to review the book. There’s a review of the book, by Pulitzer prize winning author Jim Sheeler here and a slide show of the Pulitzer prize winning photo essay of Todd Heisler here. Final Salute is the poignant story of a Marine major whose job was to notify families of their loved ones deaths in Iraq. Both chronicle the “knock on the door” that every military family dreads, especially during times of war. Major Steve Beck was a casualty assistance officer who went beyond that role to help these families cope with that loss and to honor their sacrifice. The book presents a glimpse into lives taken and lives left behind. It was an honor to read.

It’s Memorial Day and time to reflect for a few moments. And perhaps say a prayer for those brave men and women in the military who have given their lives. And another prayer for the mothers and fathers and wives and children left behind.

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