Tag Archives: Winston Churchill

The Writing Well Honors Veterans: Most Memorable War-related Posts

Band-of-Brothers

Today, as America honors those who have served their country, The Writing Well revisits this blog’s most poignant posts with veteran themes over the last four years.

Published on U.S. Memorial Days, the 4th of July and other dates of significance to the nation, these entries are examples of storytelling that underscore the power of words to move and heal. They include interviews with memoir, fiction and non-fiction authors who served or lost loved ones during times of war, an Army chaplain researching how a family member tended to the physical and religious needs of Civil War soldiers, as well as memorable war-time speeches and books worth reading.

Pulitzer Prize-nominated Author Jedwin Smith Talks about the Re-release of His Family War-time Memoir, Our Brother’s Keeper

Jedwin Smith’s memoir, originally released in 2005, details the loss of his younger brother, Jeff, the family’s “peacemaker,” during the Vietnam War, and his journey to find out who killed him. Since its release, Our Brother’s Keeper has been widely used by the VA and by the Wounded Warrior Project®, serving  to heal many veterans and bring closure to families still reeling from the sacrifice of their loved ones.

Lost Art of Letter Writing: One Sister’s Tribute to her Brother

Fellow writing group member Susan Jimison talks about her experience crafting her up-and-coming memoir about her brother, Mark Clotfelter, a pilot who died in Vietnam when she was only 14 years old: as a series Jimison_Mark_Suan_Wallof letters to him. “Writing about my brother’s heroic feats during the Vietnam War felt very unnatural for me. It was almost like I was trying to tell a war story. A war I was never in,” recalls Susan, “So, at the suggestion of fellow writer, Mari Ann Steffaneli, I tried epistolary style. Writing letters to my brother is exactly what I had done forty-three years earlier. And so, I continued writing to him, to tell his story, in letter form. It felt natural and that showed in my writing.”

Healing Soldiers: Civil War Devotional Back in Print 

Dr. Bill Nisbet, a retired Army Reserves chaplain who serves on the pastoral staff of my church, http://annewainscott.com/wp-content/uploads/blogger/-CAl993Uu9sY/T_MKAFoH1GI/AAAAAAAAA6g/iMmZ7OAheFg/s1600/Charles_Quintard_-_Brady-Handy.jpgshares his journey re-publishing The Confederate Soldier’s Pocket Manual of Devotions, a 1863 book compiled by Nisbet’s great-great-great grandfather, a medical doctor and chaplain of the First Tennessee Regiment, who cared for the physical and spiritual needs of soldiers as a hospital field surgeon.

 

 

Revolutionary Speeches to Rememberhttp://annewainscott.com/wp-content/uploads/blogger/-v3dX8-J7af8/TeI25IE0gGI/AAAAAAAAASg/266em4UipOI/s1600/fdr_congress.jpg

From American presidents FDR and Abraham Lincoln to esteemed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, these famous orators delivered patriotic speeches that have inspired generations, and made a lasting impact on the public during times of trial and times of healing.

Three Must-Reads of the War-time Experience

These three books — two works of historical fiction and one non-fiction work– memorably captured a soldier’s struggles and experiences in wars past and present. They include my all-time favorite historical novel, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

The other books featured are: A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin, and WAR by Sebastian Junger.  Helprin’s book focuses on an elderly Italian professor and veteran of the Great War, who is moved to tell the story of his life to a young, illiterate Sicilian industrial worker, as they take a long walk from Rome to a village in the mountains. Junger, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, recreates the experiences of an American infantry platoon he spent months shadowing in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008. The story chronicles the 15-month deployment of a platoon in the Korangal Valley, considered the most hostile and dangerous valley in the country. The valley, the author explains, “is sort of the Afghanistan of Afghanistan: too ­remote to conquer, too poor to intimidate, too autonomous to buy off.”

Transformation & Redemption: A Conversation with Civil War Storyteller Robert Hicks

Book_WidowoftheSouthI relished this in-depth interview with Robert Hicks, acclaimed author of two engaging historical fiction books about the Civil War and its aftermath. The first, The Widow of the South, is the tale of Carrie McGavock, a headstrong wife and mother who, in November 1864, finds her plantation home turned into a field hospital during the devastating one-day Battle of Franklin (widely considered as among the five bloodiest hours in the entire war).

Robert’s second novel, A Separate Country, takes place in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, and focuses on the life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army–and one of its most tragic figures.

Books for Heroes – A Worthy Cause

No soldier should be without a book — that sentiment formed the inspiration for creating this charitable foundation that ships books to soldiers free of charge. Thanks to the generosity of numerous book publishers, bookstore customers and trucking firms, Books for Heroes has shipped thousands of books to armed forces in Afghanistan, VA hospitals, and U.S. military bases. The charity got a major boost when bestselling author James Patterson donated  200,000 of his own books to the cause.

 

Revolutionary Speeches to Remember

Whether it’s to inform, entertain, unify or defend, speeches are a critical form of communication. Good ones  know how to grab and keep the audience’s attention, and great ones change thinking and inspire action.  This Memorial Day, I share examples of great patriotic speeches delivered here and abroad that made a lasting impact on the public during times of trial and times of healing.

Winston Churchill was among the great orators whose war-time speeches rallied both his country and the world. In his Suite101 post, Churchill’s Greatest Speeches, blog contributor Michael Rowland noted that Churchill’s “ability to motivate entire nations through the spoken word proved crucial in guiding the Allies to ultimate victory in World War II and saving Western civilization from Nazi tyranny.”

In June 1940, Churchill told his people and the world, “Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!”

Voices.com offers these top 10 U.S. Presidential Speeches that transformed America that were given in times of war and peace. Topping the list is of course President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which was delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, four months after the bloody battle, and was intended to honor the fallen on both sides, who “gave the last full measure of devotion.” The president also hoped to heal the country and unify it. Lincoln’s conclusion resolved “that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

FDR’s famous Pearl Harbor speech following Japan’s premeditated attack on our naval forces in Hawaii rallied the country in a way that few speeches by U.S. presidents have before or since.  President Roosevelt words, carried over radio, began with, “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

Toward the end of his speech, FDR declared, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington D.C. in August 1963 was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1999, it was ranked the best speech of the 20th century in a poll of scholars of public address.

Rev. King urged America to “make real the promises of democracy,” saying, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I conclude with a lesser known speech given on Memorial Day 1884 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who survived the Civil War with three wounds as a member of the Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry. Holmes would serve 30 years as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He captured the spirit of Memorial Day in these words of remembrance for fellow soldiers gone but never far from the hearts and memories of those left behind:

“But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least–at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves–the dead come back and live with us.

“I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.”