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The author served during many of the Cold War's most intense years, including 5 tours to Southeast Asia, but it was as a child that he fought his most courageous battles. For the past 3 decades he has lived in a remote solar powered home in the Sierra Nevada with his wife of 49 years, a painter and writer.
There is no good reason why any of us should have identical recollection of adventures we shared only superficially. Being there, we know from courtroom ‘eye-witness accounts’, is no guarantee of truth or even useful observation.
Nevertheless, your memories are as valid (if not factual) as mine and (I urge you to write an honest account of your experiences before you go). In some cases I have required my characters to speak in opposition voices. Many times I have left unanswered those questions we still think so vital.
Often I feel (and suspect that my fellow veterans do, too) we were severely misused, but because we are so profoundly indoctrinated against questioning authority (by family, school and church) that we dare not blame our obviously corrupted leaders. Instead we find a scapegoat, a faux-Judas like Jane Fonda or some other protestor, to blame.
Some of our actions, such as the current demonizing of those who served with us (or failed to) is so nasty that I wonder if we ever had such hatred of any enemy. And if we did, perhaps that rage so clouded our judgement and behavior that we had no chance of winning. Self hatred, self-inflicted wounds and shame, for thirty-odd years, have only inflamed, not healed our wounds.
The specter of Viet Nam is not behind us, except in the sense that we have put it in the ‘denial’ file. Like Satan smirking over Jesus’ shoulder, it is behind us, ignored but still virile, putrefying and very much in play as a puppet-master.
My wife, embracing her Native American heritage, likes to tell me stories. Sometimes I understand them.
Like the Old Indian who laments to his grandson of the terrible creatures which gnaw his heart—”vengeance” and “forgiveness”.
“But Grandfather,” cries the boy, “which one will win?”“
"… The one I feed,” the Old One says gravely.
H. F. J. Estrup - August 2004
From "2002 The Greatest Generation Redux" ...
Military folk salute the rank and what it stands for, not the individual. So I was instructed more than fifty years ago. All citizens are required to salute the flag of our country. It is the image, the symbol, the promise we honor, not the government or its brutality or its fallen heroes, even though various officials wish us to believe that those in government have authority given by some entity other than We, The People.
Of the many salutes I have rendered, most of them for the wrong reasons, the one I sent this ancient couple was the most reflexive and heartfelt, the most meaningful. Living long and well, loving and being loved, those are worthy achievements no matter what the nationality, faith or station.
It is the only kind of salute I care to render, anymore.
Raw, relateable, vivid voice
WAR STORIES FOR MY GRANDCHILDREN - A Memoir in Short Stories
Highest level = Excellent! - Writer's Digest
"What I like best is the humanity of the speaker. Narrators often glorify themselves or the people they love and consequently attack those who might have ever hurt them slightly. It seems those authors do not approach their lives from a position of power. But this book is filled with real people with distinctive voices, made human and vulnerable by their standards and faults and are loved all the more for them by the reader. Especially wonderful is the perspective on the world, the philosophies and stories presented with reasoning throughout, as well as the various layers of actual war and the pyschology of boy and manhood ... the raw, relatable, vivid voice that is found inside ... the project is quite necessary and brilliant, and I hope it will come under the gaze of many a person interested at all in our world's history or the intelligent wisdom of one who has lived."
372 pages, paperback $25.00 ebook $6.00
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended from a satisfied reader. November 11, 2007
Format:PaperbackIn War Stories For My Grandchildren, the author vividly portrays how war is not always on the military battlefield. This unique book tells of war in all walks of life, be it young, old, personal, social or military. It connects the reader to war through the eyes and mind of the author who experienced these events as they unfolded. With a poignant view of the military, gained from a combined total of twenty plus years in the Air Force and Navy, he writes with the technical expertise of an insider and the wisdom acquired after five tours in Southeast Asia. Here's a bargain if I ever read one. The book contains about twenty different stories for the price of one book. Each story filled with a refreshingly honest point of view. Not just the blood and guts side of war but a deeper philosophical understanding of what it is, what it does, and how humanity can't seem to detach itself from it. Real life danger and excitement await the reader in stories like The Drowning of Helen Lee and Sea Dragon, as well as others. I'm sure his Grandchildren will enjoy them all. I did!
Highly recommended from a satisfied reader. Jd2/SFR
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