Posts Tagged ‘veterans’

Reposted from Classic and Cozy Books Blog, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Traditionally, graves of Union soldiers were decorated with flowers. The Confederate soldiers were commemorated similarly, but on a separate day. By the 20th Century, the competing days merged into the one we now know, the last Monday of May, the beginning of summer.Every year, we commemorate the sacrifices of our military heroes on two days, separated by six months. Memorial Day is the most American of the two as it was initiated in 1868 as Decoration Day, following the end of the War Between the States (also known as the Second War of Independence), the American Civil War.

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in other countries in Europe) commemorates the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the guns went silent at the end of World War I. This holiday evolved from this WWI connection to honor the service of all veterans of the U.S. Armed forces. Memorial Day honors the military personnel who died while serving our country.

Along with many of my fellow Americans, I visited the graves of members of my family who served in the U.S. Army during World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War. To my knowledge, no one in my family died in combat, despite a long history of service in the Armed Forces.This year, unlike so many in the recent past, the United States is not engaged in any major conflict on foreign soil, a reason to think of this year’s holiday as one to be set apart.

Since the 1950s, the Golden Gate National Cemetery has been the resting place of uncles, aunts, my parents and siblings. My father and uncle, both U.S. Army officers, are buried with their wives. My sister-in-law passed away a year before my brother and they were interred together in my parent’s grave.

These vast rows of white tombstones and flags are, at once, a majestic and a sorrowful sight.

This post is in Memory of

  • Moses F Verrill, Infantryman, US Army, 20th Maine, War Between the States
  • Hiram W Verrill, PFC, US Army, WWI
  • Thomas A Verrill, Sr. Captain, US Army, WWII
  • Charles A. Adams, Sargent, US Army, WWII
  • Owen K Nichols, US Navy, Korean War
  • Thomas A Verrill, Jr. 1st Lt, US Army, Vietnam War

And in Honor of

  • Maxine M Dillahunty nee Verrill, 1st Lt, US Army, Korean War,
  • William D. Dillahunty, Airman 2nd Cl, US Air Force, Korean War

And with especial thanks to every one of the veterans and serving personnel who volunteer and are prepared to give their lives to protect and preserve our liberty.


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As my first guest writer, I’m very happy to present, J.L. Salter, who is writing today about one of my favorite topics: World War II. As an editor of two volumes of women’s autobiographies about their experiences during this devastating war, I became even more interested in this period of world history than when my mother told me her story.

Welcome, Jeff!

C2AA-med-453x680Very much appreciate Leigh’s gracious invitation to appear here today.  Leigh and I actually go way back — she was one of my earliest contacts after I began consciously networking.  After she very graciously welcomed me to RWA’s PRO group, we began corresponding.  Eventually she read the first 100 pages of one of my manuscripts and provided helpful feedback.

We’ve followed each other’s progress and I believe her first Avalon novel came out around the time of my first Astraea book.

Plus, she was once a Guest Fox at my group blog, Four Foxes One Hound, and here is the link to her April 28, 2011, appearance:


Important and timely

Have you ever read a novel which seemed so important and timely that you could hardly contain your enthusiasm about it?  Have you ever WRITTEN such a story?

Well I have.  At least it seems that important and timely to me.  No, not FOR me — because this novel is my tribute to the Greatest Generation … and those still living are leaving us all too quickly.  I’m a “baby boomer” — my parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers (and practically every adult I knew) were among that generation which struggled through the Great Depression and sacrificed during World War II.

About the story

Called to Arms Again was released on May 30 from Astraea Press.  Of the eight novels I’ve completed so far, this was my third written and my third fiction book published.

It’s the story of a young newspaper reporter looking for a new angle for her Veterans Day special section.  Who better to give her a fresh perspective than a bunch of old war dogs who’d been there and back.  Not only does Kelly Randall learn what the Greatest Generation was made of, but she soon discovers a great deal about her own mettle.

My story has action, comedy, romance, plenty of the ‘can-do’ spirit, and an unashamedly healthy dose of patriotism.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cheer.

I need your help

I haven’t gone ‘all-out’ with promotion of my first two novels – romantic suspense and romantic comedy – because they’re mostly enjoyed by readers of those genres.  But the sky’s the limit on promoting C2AA — this story appeals to readers of both genders … from ages 19 to 90!

If you were born before about 1930, you ARE part of the Greatest Generation and you’ll find yourself (and your siblings and friends) in my story!

If you’re a Boomer (born after WW2) — your parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers were members of the greatest generation.  Buy this book and read it, because you’ll recognize these characters.  And if you have living parents or other relatives, tell them about my story.  Please remember, the WW2 generation – both those who served in the military and those who sacrificed on the homefront – are dying at a rate of about 2000 per day … so there is an urgency to let them know about this story which honors them!

If you’re the child of a Boomer Generation parent, you need to read this so you’ll understand what your grand-parents (and their siblings) went through and how they prevailed.

Read it!  Pass the word!  Get this story into the hands of everyone who loves Freedom!

Don’t you agree that artist Elaina Lee did an outstanding job on my cover for Called to Arms Again?


Called to Arms Again

By J. L. Salter

Grit doesn’t fade away … it just becomes crusty.  With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II.  Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.

Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back.  While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country.  The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.


Called to Arms Again is available here:



Barnes & Noble:



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I started this post in September of 2012 and the first words I wrote were “This will be hard.” Now I can’t actually remember why I thought writing about heroes would be hard. This being my 100th post, I can’t think of a better topic.

I write in a genre that celebrates heroes as the epitome of manhood and it is generally accepted that heroes are extraordinary, superhuman, beyond the capabilities of the rest of us.

In my mind, a hero is an ordinary person who responds to demanding circumstances in an extraordinary way. It won’t come as any surprise to you that I think of my father as a hero. If you’ve read my mother’s memoir of World War II, Following the Troops, you may get the idea that she felt the same – otherwise, why did she traipse all over the country with four and five children to be with him where ever he was stationed in the war years?

Though she wrote her memoir for me, she never gave any explanation for the years she spent on the road. For these years and many other reasons, she is also one of my heroes.

My parents were married during the Great Depression of the 1930s. By the time the Second World War started, they had four children. I was not one of them. My second brother was born during the war and perished before its end. The sad circumstances of this brother’s death are the reason that my recently departed, dearly loved brother, is another of my heroes. He, in his turn, brought another hero into my life: his wife.

What makes these perfectly ordinary people heroes? Not only because they are my family, I assure you. I have already written about my father and what he did when he returned from WWII and couldn’t find work in my post, What I Learned from Helen Keller and My Father. But the one thing that I learned about him after his death is where, for me, his heroism finds its greatest evidence. My father was a recovering alcoholic. His dependence on alcohol began as a social drinker before the war and took hold during the war as he trained young men to be sent to the Front and culminated with the death of my second brother. By the time I was born, my dad was teetotal. I never saw him take a drink, even at big family celebrations where the libations were plentiful and everyone else was imbibing. That is strong and courageous in my estimation.

My mother worked most of her life, an orphan at the age of 13 and separated from her two older sisters. She was raised by an aunt hundreds of miles from her home. Her schooling ended early, partly because she was dyslexic and spent most of her time daydreaming. With four surviving children and another on the way, she had plenty to keep her tuckered out but she worked in a canning factory, to help make ends meet. After my father’s death from cancer, she went back to work as a cook in a school cafeteria, again out of financial necessity, and raised two more daughters on her own.

My elder brother was a quiet, studious boy in a family of five boisterous girls. When our second brother died, my brother was four years old. He carried that memory with him for the rest of his life. Despite that, he found the strength within himself to have a full life, delight his sisters, son, nieces and nephews with stories, giving his service and dedication to many thousands of veterans of too many wars as his proudest service to his country and years of love and care to his wife as her health declined.

My only sister-in-law was born with cerebral palsy. As a child, her mother was embarrassed by her condition and would put her daughter in a closet when they had visitors. She was a very intelligent young woman, achieving academic honors and accolades from educational institutions. As a teacher of children with special needs, she was listed in Who’s Who in Education. Throughout her life, she struggled with health challenges, many surgical procedures and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Never once, in all the years she was my sister-in-law, did she ever ask “Why me?” She faced life without any reservations or resentment.

So, when I wrote “This will be hard” I was right. Writing about people you loved and admired who are no longer here is hard. All I can do is live as well and offer as much.

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