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Books: Final Salute ~ win an autographed copy

May 15, 2008 | Books

I just finished reading Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives by Jim Sheeler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Veterans Day special report on Nov. 11, 2005, in the Rocky Mountain News.

I can’t review it. Anything I say will be inadequate. Instead, I’ll borrow words from Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and author of Chasing Ghosts (another must-read book):

Jim Sheeler’s Final Salute should be required reading for all Americans and their elected leaders. It is not pro- or anti-war but instead a gripping account of combat’s price on the families of the fallen. Final Salute is also the inspirational and often heartbreaking story of the incredible, heroic efforts of a Marine officer to help ease the pain of these families. Jim Sheeler should be saluted for providing a heartfelt view inside the returns home from Iraq that too often pass unrecognized by the American public.

He’s right. Everyone should read this book. Everyone.

Final Salute is journalism at its finest. Sheeler writes about military families with honesty, honor and respect. He writes about things most ordinary Americans never read about in the headlines or on the front page. His words are gentle and subtle, yet the stories are powerful.

I can’t write a review, but I can get at least three other people to read this book. So here’s the deal.

I will give away three autographed copies of Final Salute ($25.95, hardcover). Here are the rules.

1) Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
2) Give me your name and a working e-mail address.
3) Tell me what Memorial Day means to you.

If you win a copy, here’s what I want you to do.

1) Read the book.
2) Write about it. If you don’t have a blog, I’ll give you space for a guest post.
3) Give it to someone else to read. Or keep your copy but give another one as a gift to someone else.

You have until midnight, Friday, May 30, 2008, to enter.

Update: You have a chance at another book at eMail Our Military. I’ve extended my deadline to coincide with theirs.

Special thanks to Dave Hurley at Borders. I couldn’t have done this without you!

Sheeler is on tour. Stop by if you’re in any of these neighborhoods.
Seattle ~ May 15, 7 p.m., Third Place Books
San Francisco ~ May 16, 12:30 p.m., Stacey’s Bookstore
San Francisco ~ May 17, 7 p.m., Book Passage Corte Madera
Madison, Conn. ~ May 19, 7 p.m., R.J. Julia Booksellers
Washington, D.C. ~ May 20, 7:30 p.m., Borders – Tysons Corner

Posted by Becky @ 3:40 pm  

17 Responses to “Books: Final Salute ~ win an autographed copy”

  1. Spacemom Says:

    Every Memorial Day, I think of Corey. My friend, a father, a lover, a solider. A stupid accident, something simple that didn’t have to happen killed him. In an instant, my friend was gone, never to see his children grow. Never to see how the baby would grow into a beautiful girl or how his toddler would be just like him.

    I think of his funeral, the salute, the flag being folded, the baby crying.

    I think of Corey, and then I think of TAPS http://www.taps.org/. Every Memorial Day weekend, men, women and children gather at TAPS to deal with their grief, their loss, their love. We forget how many are left behind with each fallen solider.
    That is what Memorial Day means to me, another day without Corey, another year for those families left behind.

  2. Gunfighter Says:

    In the course of my life, I have viewed Memorial Day through different lenses.

    As A child, I thought of Memorial day as the beginning of the summer season. There was a holiday, and flags, a trip to someplace warm in my future, and the joyful knowledge that school would be out for the summer in a few weeks. The world was alive with possibilities.

    As a younger man, who enlisted in the Marines in 1981 (at age 17), Memorial Day was a day that the “Old timers” would draw away from the us young-bloods. They would share stories, and private thoughts and exchange somber greetings with each other. You see, in those days, the “Old Timers” were the guys who had served, and lost friends, in Vietnam. I sort of understood it, then, but it wasn’t personal.

    As a veteran who is settling into the reality that I now have fewer days left in front of me than I do behind me, I see memorial day through an enitrely different lens.

    Today, I see Memorial Day as a day to remember friends who served with me. I see Memorial Day as a day to honor those who served their country honorably, and gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice.

    I served in the armed forces at the end of the Cold War and through a couple of hot ones. Beirut, Lebanon; Grenada; Panama; The Persian Gulf War… I have friends who were killed in some of those places. I have friends who stayed in the service, who are now the “old timers” themselves. Many of these friends have served in Iraq or Afghanistan more than once.

    I have coworkers who are Reservists who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their wounds, and suffering are important to me… they are personal.

    On this Memorial Day, I will continue to honor the sacrifices of my friends and my younger comrades who are now taking my place in the line. Sure, I’ll still worry about them, and I’ll still have my own grave misgivings about the reasons for the current war, but this will not diminish the pride I feel at having been part of the superb forces that serve America.

  3. Cheryl R Says:

    I really want to read this book. Thanks for spreading the word!

    Memorial Day means a lot b/c my father & grandfather both served (Marine Corps WWII and Army WWI respectively) & I just have such respect for the men and women who are willing to serve their country. I wish more people in THIS generation understood the great sacrifice it truly is.

    I don’t have enough words to express how grateful I am to ALL of them for making sure my freedoms are safe and sound here in the US.


  4. Kathy Says:

    I want to read this book and will get it for myself. Thanks for telling about it. Shan’t enter a Memorial Day article. I just want to read the book. The comments above are good and there may be more coming. SMILE!

  5. JessicaAPISS Says:

    Memorial Day mean remembering the bravery of my grandfather, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and German prisoner of war.

  6. Tempered Woman Says:

    This year Memorial Day means hubby gets to come home and spend his last weekend in our St. Louis home. He is currently stationed to VA for training. When he finishes at end of August we move to Denver. We’ve already sold our house tho and close June 12th. So Memorial Day will be spent with family, appreciating family, loving every minute we have together as a family and cherishing that time. I don’t want to get too sappy here cause truth is we are thinking about the sacrifices of soldiers and their families every day, not just Memorial Day. We are both military brats and I am very proud of my hubby. Will be happy to have him home!

  7. PunditMom Says:

    Aside from obviously being grateful to all who have served this country, I especially think of my great uncles who served in World War II over that weekend.

  8. Caroline Says:

    My father, at 66 years of age, is currently working for USAID in northern Vietnam, he’s trying to clean up remenants of agent orange. A daunting task to say the LEAST. But this is actually a fairly relaxing post for him. Last year, he was in Kabul, Afghanistan for 4 months. He did about 4 “tours” of this sort trying to assist farmers with alternative livlihood methods – farming options OTHER than growing poppies. And war lords weren’t his biggest fan. Anyway, my point is, his life was at stake. Everyday. He wore flak jackets to work and literally had 12 “shooters” around him where ever he went. And this is where Memorial day comes into the picture for me. The men protecting him? The “shooters” that escorted him all over town and all over the country? They were kids – 21, 22, 23. And when my Dad spoke with them, they had such dedication to their jobs and their country. They were ready to die for my Dad. My Dad!? Who always loses his glasses, is late for everything and doesn’t know how to wash his own shirts? They would give their lives for my Dad? And some did while my father was there. On Monday (and many other days) I remember them and thank them for allowing my Dad to make it home for our Christmases, a graduation, seeing his third grandson born – just continuing his life with us. Bless them and I thank them from the bottem of my heart.

  9. Trish Says:

    Please count me in! I’d love to read this book after reading the article. I’m with you. I think the more people who have the opportunity to read this book the more they will be able to understand and relate to our military service members and their families. I hope everyone will do a little something special this weekend to remember our service members. Thanks for doing this!

  10. This Military Mama Says:

    Memorial day to me is remembering all who have fought for our freedom. From the American Revolution to Iraq today. Men and women who believed in this country and our freedoms. I think of my many family members who have served our country in time of peace and time of war. I think of family, friends, loved ones, accquaitances who have been overseas in this war, are going overseas, or those that are already there. I think of my husband and how proud he is to be a Navy Submariner.

    If it wasn’t for these outstanding people who are willing to step up to the plate our country would not have the freedoms we have today.

    Memorial day reminds me to thank every sailor, soldier, marine, and airmen I know. to tell them how truly greatful I am for their service. It also reminds me to say a prayer for all those before us who have laid down their lives for us.

  11. Kathy Says:

    I finished the book just now, and I too say EVERYBODY SHOULD READ THIS BOOK! These are a few of the 4000+ (in Iraq alone and more in Afghanistan) stories of our fallen soldiers, yet the stories told give you so many insights into the lives of the families of fallen soldiers, whose lives were cut short fighting for us. I thank God for people like Steve Beck, who bring comfort to those families. I, too. think that we as Americans need to be more caring for families and need to be reminded again about the men and women who serve our country. Our prayers shoulg surround and go with our service people.

  12. Bob Says:

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    To some military musicians and ceremonial guardsmen, every day is Memorial Day.

    I’m a military musician in Washington, DC. Where I work, the main mission is rendering final honors to the dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Though performing is not my primary duty (I’m usually off in the corner where they keep the creative types), I am occasionally called on as an extra or substitute drummer for a funeral.

    Even for a stand-in like me, it is all too easy to regard the job with a sense of routine. A military funeral is, after all, a ritual that has changed little over the centuries, and the troops who perform it are professionals whose principal job is to perform it as many as four times a day.

    Services are virtually identical from one to the next. It is rare for members of the ceremonial unit even to know the name of the deceased. But even though the services may blur together in a performer’s memory -— indeed may seldom have any distinctive resonance as little as a day later -— the performers know, every time, that for the family and friends gathered to honor their loved one, it is a singular occasion of immeasurable significance, and it will be remembered.

    I know what it’s like to get a “thank you” for -— to my thinking at the moment -— just doing my job. When a boss or supervisor says it, I often blow it off and keep on working. But when it comes from someone who is genuinely moved by the solemn spectacle of the military’s most fundamental honor, that is something else entirely. I know that for Memorial Days to come, they will recall the funeral as a fitting and proper tribute to someone who deserved nothing less.

  13. Kathy Says:

    As I think about Memorial Day today, I am glad I read the book Final Salute before this date, so I can appreciate all the service people who died making sure our freedoms remain, as well as their families and the pain and loss they felt and still feel. I also appreciate more what those who did come back did for us. In a local band parade last Saturday I read a sign on the Veterans of Vietnam float that said – and I am sorry the quote is not quite exact, “Never again will a generation of veterans forget another.” The Vietnam vets are trying to mentor our soldiers in Iraq. Thank you to all who are trying to make life more meaningful to veterans and the families of those who served our country!!!

  14. Deep Muck Big Rake » Memorial Day Says:

    […] also planning to extend the deadline for the Final Salute giveaway to coincide with eMail Our Military, which will also be giving away an autographed copy of the […]

  15. BlackJack Says:

    We’re pleased to team up with you on this giveaway and we’ll be getting a copy of our own to keep in the office as required reading. We’re also going to grab an autogrphed copy of Michael Yon’s latest and do a giveaway contest when that one comes in. (Inspired by you, of course!)

  16. BlackJack Says:

    Our post will be up @ 3 PM announcing our collaboration!

  17. Deep Muck Big Rake » Books: Final Salute winners coming soon Says:

    […] to everyone who responded to my post about Final Salute. I’m notifying winners now, and I’ll post them […]

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