Four Books That Honor American Veterans
In the spirit of Memorial Day, Book World invited Jan Scruggs to pick his favorite books that honor our vets. Scruggs is founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund; he recently wrote the foreword to The Wall: 25 Years of Healing and Educating by Kim Murphy, which the VVMF commissioned to mark its 25th anniversary.
Here is his guest contribution to Short Stack:
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. These simple but profound words adorn the Korean War Memorial. Our nation just observed Memorial Day, when we pause to remember those who, from the beginning of this country's history, have paid the price so that we can live in freedom. Sometimes we take this for granted, but think about it: People from all over the world struggle to come here and become Americans. Ours truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade during the Vietnam War. It was a life-changing experience for me, as it was for many who served in Southeast Asia. When I came home, I was determined that we would not forget those who served and sacrificed for their country, and I led the effort to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
As you can imagine, I am often drawn to books about U.S. military history. These coffee table books seem to always be on sale, and I buy them with frequency. They make great gifts -- after I have read them, of course!
1. United States Naval Academy Annapolis, by Linda Foster, photos by Roger Miller.
Since 1845, this institution has given America many officers in the Navy and Marines. The book captures the essence of Annapolis's noteworthy architecture and the academic and physical training that the midshipmen endure. Jimmy Carter, the only U.S. president to graduate from the Naval Academy, wrote the foreword.
2. U.S. Army Infantry, edited by Maj. Gen. Jerry A. White.
The Infantry teaches men to engage enemy soldiers with firearms, grenades and other weapons. It has always been the backbone of America's fighting force, and cemeteries in places like Normandy, which are primarily filled with infantrymen, attest to that. This history helps readers respect the sacrifices of the frontline troops in our armed forces.
3. World War II: A Photographic History, by David Boyle.
The 900 photos in this book are a powerful testament to the bravery of American troops and the horrors of war. These photos are not for the faint of heart. The images of emaciated American POWs and our battle dead at Iwo Jima are profound memorials to the courage of those who gave of themselves for our nation and our freedom.
4. Battles of the Civil War, 1861-1865: From Fort Sumter to Petersburg, by Kevin J. Dougherty et al.
Imagine the headline: "30,000 Casualties Near Washington, D.C.!" The book tells about this horrific American tragedy, some of which took place on battlefields that are now a short drive from our city. The writing is quite good, and the illustrations are augmented by grisly statistics, including the death toll at Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia.
What books come to your mind?
By Christian Pelusi |
May 29, 2008; 6:22 AM ET
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