Quote of the Weekend

“. . . People. The guy bent over at the sink trying to work the sludge out of his knuckles with solvent, and his wife at the stove with her hair in curlers, shushing the kids over the booming racket of the radio. Her faces catches the light in a certain way, or that tender, dreamy look comes over it as she watches the baby, and the guy at the sink straightens and moves up behind her and steals a kiss, and she laughs, fussing a little because he’s still wet and soapy–and then turns and hugs him in the middle of the kitchen floor, wit the kids squabbling over the toys and the radio yammering away . . . All the men and girls with their with their dreams and derelictions, their quarrels and reconciliations, wrenched away from those intimate things now, those naked things, snatched up and flung harshly into jungles, mountains, burning desert sands for the preservation of this way of life we believe in so passionately–and which has so many glorious things about it that the simple contemplation of it, late on a hot, still night like this one, between the jungle and the see, 10,000 miles from home, can move you almost to tears . . . .”

Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

(People. I love the beauty of this paragraph.)

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Quote of the Weekend

“It meant nothing. Nothing at all. Words. What did his mother care for citations, or medals, or letters of condolence? Her boy was dead.

Well. Sometimes they were all we had–words. They had to serve, flesh out the heart’s soft cry . . .”

Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

(The general writing the mothers after the battle. Seems appropriate for the 71st Anniversary of D-Day. )

Quote of the Weekend

“The nights are so long at sea. The stars come and go behind invisible black snatches of cloud. So long and lonely. Waste again, waste and remorse now, flooding blackly. Why did I go to China? Did I need to quarrel with Tommy that time after the dance at Beyliss? Should I have refused to give the boy permission to enlist? I’ve been headstrong when I could have been wise, craven when I should have been bold. I haven’t understood very much. Why did I go and get Dev and drag him back? Who in God’s sweet name am I to judge anybody on this earth? Here we are in our thousands, rushing in gray shells toward the unknown. What is the end of all our fear and sacrifice?

Ah God. God, help me. Help me to be wise and full of courage and sound judgement. Harden my heart to the sights that I must see so soon again, grant me only the power to think clearly, boldly, resolutely, no matter how unnerving the peril.

Let me not fail them.”

– Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

(A soldiers prayer before he leads his men to battle.)

Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060196963/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060196963&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=TVDVNS5N2TMASFOE

I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out what to say about this book. It is like the pinnacle of all slice of life stories as it follows Sam Damon from boyhood through WWI, WW2, and Vietnam. When you finish reading it there is a hollow in your heart from living a whole other life for a time. The writing style of this book is superb. I could recommend it on that alone. Myrer’s battle scenes are beautiful in their terror, horror, and glory.  His descriptions, both short and long, paint the picture of events in vivid words dripping with sweat, blood,and tears. His characters are diverse, broken, and glorious. Sam is the hero of the book but much of his tale is told from the point of view of those around him providing the reader with a 3-D view of the world.
I will admit that the WW2 section is my favorite, no surprise there, but it is also the hardest part to read.
If you are a history buff especially of modern military history, I can’t recommend this massive book enough. Go read it. Then you too can walk around feeling lost for a few days. 🙂

Content Warning: This is a story about sinful people living life. It’s not clean and it’s not pretty, but I do think Myrer did a good job of not wallowing in the darker moments of the story. It is full of Adult Content (war, military life, married life, unfaithful spouses, unfaithful friends, death, drugs.) and the reading level is pretty high, so college age and up would be my recommendation. I think it’s one of those books that could be wasted on high schoolers. I know I never would have appreciated it when I was a teen.

Quote of the Weekend

“Only here, before his eyes, were there no distinctions of race or breeding. Here they slept together, not berthed separately under the neat aeration of the crosses but rolled together in one long trench–Christian and Negro and Jew, patrician and laborer: all of them were good enough to die, to sink to mortality and lie together.

Only in time of peace were they unworthy.”

– Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer

(Death, the great equalizer.)