Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post by Graham Garrison, Author

Hero's Tribute
by Graham Garrison
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2685-8
Publiser: Kregel

Picture a young family sitting around the dinner table for Thanksgiving dinner. Because of the dad’s job, the family didn’t travel this holiday. The mom has just finished the stuffing. The dad carved the turkey. The two-year old daughter is yapping away about coloring or dolls or something along those lines. A three-month old is propped in the high chair drooling and smiling at everything. The mom and dad bring the food to the table, the dad ties a bib on the two-year old while the mom gives the baby a bottle. It’s the same scene being played out in million of homes across the country.

The phone rings. It could be relatives in Florida or Georgia, because the family live sin North Carolina. It could be neighbors across the street. This dad and that dad work for the same company. But they know better. They know that phone calls at this hour, at this little plot of land, have more ramifications than most. They live in a duplex in the heart of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home to the 82nd Airborne.

The father scoots his chair back, rises, and picks up the phone on the third ring. He says hello, and then listens. The message is short. He hangs up the phone, and turns to his wife.This is the part in the movie where the deep, thematic music starts playing. The husband’s shoulders sag and he says something heroic like “It’s time to kick some butt,” or “Lord have mercy on my enemies because we’ll have none.” Or the wife will say “Don’t leave us” or be like the King Leonidas’s wife in 300 “Come back with your shield or you on it.” But this is the real world, and the real world doesn’t have time for that non-sense.

“Do you know where the insurance papers are?” is what the husband says. The wife nods. The next 10 minutes are a rush. He prepares quickly, hugs his wife, kisses his children and leaves. Fifteen minutes ago they were a normal family eating Thanksgiving. Now the husband is off to a foreign battlefield with the very real possibility that he won’t return, that the wife and mother of his children will be a widow, that there lives will never be the same.

What kind of faith do you have to have to function in those times? To volunteer for a life with those possibilities? It sounds like an impossible situation to handle, yet every day, in one shape or form, millions of American families live that out. Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Air Force, National Guard. These are our moms and dads, siblings, cousins, neighbors, soccer coaches, store managers, firemen and policemen. These folks are the best we as a nation have to offer.

I wanted to know what made them tick. I wanted to know why my friend Matt would put himself through 60 days away from his wife and into swamps, mountains with little sleep. And when he was done with that, as we’re packing a U-Haul so he and his wife Holly can move to Fort Campbell to begin training for war, for him to say “I don’t want a desk job or to miss out, it’s my destiny to lead men in combat.”

The word that tied into each of their stories was service.

They have a faith in our country, that before they even know where they’re going, what missions they’ll be given and what danger they’ll be in, they sign a contract and are sworn in under oath to protect our freedom. They love and trust our country so much. They have faith in their fellow citizens to elect the right leaders who will make the right, measured decisions. They have faith that when they are sent in harm’s way, that it’s for the right reasons. They trust us, in other words. They have faith in us.

It’s not just soldiers and their families though. It’s school teachers. Social workers. Moms. Dads. We are these things, on good days and bad. For sickness and in health. On soccer fields and desk jobs.

After really looking at the people who you can truly call heroes in our society, specifically soldiers and their families, what made them tick, what made them extraordinary, it wasn’t their deeds. Medals, plaques – those were rewards for being in the right place at a moment in time when they were called. They were all called, just not to the same duties and battlefields. And I’m not taking away from anyone here, that’s not the point. The point is they had the faith to serve, that’s what makes them different. Whether it was on the front line or in logistics, they did what they were called upon.

And that’s important, because in real life, in our walk with God, we don’t always get to pick our fights. Just how we react to them, how we fight in them. That’s what led me in part to write Hero’s Tribute.

Q & A With Graham Garrison

1.) Where did you originally come up with the idea for a story about what defines a hero?

I just wanted to know what made them tick. You hear stories of World War II veterans who did heroic things but never mentioned them to their families, and then their families would find a silver star hidden in a trunk in the attic. Most heroes are like that – the medals and ribbons are significant, but they don’t define them.

2.) Is there a particular reason why the families of soldiers are near and dear to your heart?

I was born in Fayetteville, N.C. while my dad was a captain in the 82nd Airborne stationed at Fort Bragg. I’ve always held soldiers and their families in the highest regard.

3.) In your opinion, do actions or character ultimately define a hero?

I think character comes through in the actions, ultimately. If there is failure, you can still see where a person tried their best to do the right thing. We don’t always get to choose the battles we fight or the hardships we’ll endure, but we can choose how we react to them, and I wanted that to resonate in “Hero’s Tribute,” especially with Michael Gavin.

4.) Who is your favorite author? Why?

Probably Philip Yancey. He digs deep into spiritual topics and biblical figures but doesn’t tell you what to think about them. More like he presents the information and allows you to decide for yourself, or sets you off on your own investigation.

About the Author

Graham Garrison is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Atlanta. He has covered high school and college football games as a newspaper reporter, completed an internship with the U.S. Army at its National Training Center in the Mojave Desert and tested WaveRunners and Runabouts as the managing editor of a national boating magazine. He’s written about battlefields for America’s Civil War, interviewed medical innovators for Georgia Physician and even penned an editorial for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he’s not writing, he’s chasing his two-year old son Nicholas and their Beagle, Baxter around the backyard with his wife, Katie. Visit his website at http://www.grahamgarrisonwords.com/.

I'd like to thank Graham for taking the time to share about his book Hero's Tribute and his thoughts on service. I will be touring Hero's Tribute on Feb 3 so you'll be able to read the first chapter and my review.

I'd also like to thank the service men and women who are my heroes in this world! Thank you for laying your life down for the millions of people who don't know you but honor your service to this country that you help to remain free and safe!


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.