I signed last Saturday at the Fort Lewis PX. In May I had appeared at the base to give away free copies of Wrongful Death on Armed Forces day. Simon and Schuster also provided two organizations with free copies of the novel to be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Being on base is always a moving experience. It is a world within a world, one that most civilians, myself included, don't fully understand. For anyone who wants to criticize the military, I would invite you to visit one of the military bases and talk to the men and women who are deploying to Iraq, and now to Afghanistan again. Talk to their families. It is a sobering experience. I spoke to one woman from Germany who met and married her husband while he was stationed there. The week before he had deployed to Afghanistan. She was a lovely woman, happy and very interested in the book. I was surprised to learn that her husband would be gone for a year and even more surprised when she returned to introduce me to her three children, the oldest just 12.
I lost my father last Father's Day, June 15. This one year has felt like ten. I can only imagine it must feel the same way for so many of these military families, with one very significant difference. I have achieved peace knowing my father is not coming home. These families go to bed every night wondering if their father, or mother for that matter, will be coming home. It is a sobering thought for all of us.
God bless those soldiers and their families who are making the sacrifice every day. Maybe wars are political. But the soldiers aren't. They're mothers and fathers and wives and husbands just like all of us.
May they all come home safe.