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216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355

(320)693-2483

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Thanking Them for Their Service

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

            Our library will be closed on Monday, November 11, to observe Veterans Day.  This seems a good time to highlight some of the recent books about American veterans that we have available.

            Thank You for Your Service is an account of the impact of war on veterans after they return home.  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel followed some of the soldiers from the unit with which he was embedded during the Iraq surge.  He describes the struggles and suffering they and their families experience after they go back to civilian life.  Finkel asks and answers questions about what we ask of the men and women who go to war, and what we thank them for when they return.

           
Minnesota native Lt. Col. Mark Weber wrote a collection of letters to his sons when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Tell My Sons: A Father’s Last Letters is full of Weber’s stories about courage, words and actions, humility, and humor.  Robin Williams wrote the foreword, and notable people have praised the book, from author Mitch Albom to the Iraqi Chief of Defense, General Zibari.  Weber died in June.

           
For a great World War II survival story, pick up The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines.  Author Cate Lineberry researched a story kept secret until 1990 when communism ended in Albania and the people involved finally felt they could safely tell it.  A medical air evacuation flight crash-landed in Nazi-occupied Albania.  Most of the thirty surviving Americans walked over 600 miles, aided by locals, before they were rescued 62 days later.  A few who were separated from the group waited twice as long to get out. 

            Another of the books we have on World War II includes the experience of a local resident, Wanda Nordlie.  Wanda, Lieutenant Thoen at the time, was an army nurse who helped to liberate the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria.  The book Inside the Gates by Dr. Richard MacDonald tells the previously untold story.

           
The veterans of World War I were typically ignored once World War II happened.  In the book The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War, we can read about the surviving WWI veterans that author Richard Rubin found, beginning in 2003.  Between the ages of 101 and 113 when he interviewed them, all are now gone.  The book is a tribute to these veterans, as well as a collection of fascinating stories.  Expect to see more attention paid to World War I as we approach the 100th anniversary next year. 


            There is so much to learn about the experiences generations of veterans have had in war and peacetime.  We thank them for their service to our country.