Memorial Day: Choosing to Remember

As I read stories of sacrifice and service this Memorial Day, I am humbled by the many selfless Americans who put their country’s needs before their own. I have the freedom today to choose how I live my life because others chose to serve—they stepped up to the call when they were needed and made the ultimate sacrifice. I owe them my recognition and my gratitude.

Among my many freedoms, I’m free to blog of bookish things. I thought it might be fitting to take a look at some of the many books that have ensured that I won’t ever forget those who have served and sacrificed for our country.

Where to start the list? I decided to break the list down by nonfiction and fiction and to try to provide books that span our country’s rich history. I drew from the favorites on our home library shelves for inspiration. Rather than weigh in on what I think of these books, suffice it to say that their inclusion on this list makes them a favorite of at least one in our household. Many are those the whole family has read and recommend. I’m sure I’ve neglected some others you think should be on the list, so please let me know what I should add.

So, this Memorial Day, you and I are free to head off to the newly opened pool, fire up the barbecue, and enjoy the start of summer. If I need a reminder as to why we have these freedoms, I’ll take along one of these:


A Proper Sense of Honor: Service and Sacrifice in George Washington's Army by Caroline Cox

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots Dave R. Palmer

The Lion in the White House by Aida D. Donald

The Spirit of Semper Fidelis: Reflections From the Bottom of an Old Canteen Cup by Rick Spooner

Shiloh: Voices from the Civil War Time-Life Books

Company Aitch by Samuel R. Watkins

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam

Generation Kill by Evan Wright

The Civil War: An Illustrated History by Geoffey C. Ward, Ric Burns, and Ken Burns

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge

USMC: A Complete History by Marine Corps Association

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose

BAT-21 by William C. Anderson

The Lost Battalion by Thomas M. Johnson, Fletcher Pratt, and Edward M. Coffman

On Hallowed Ground: The Last Battle for Pork Chop Hill by Bill McWilliams

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson


The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Books by Jeff Shaara:

Rise to Rebellion
The Steel Wave
Gone for Soldiers
Gods and Generals
The Last Full Measure
The Rising Tide
To the Last Man

Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk

Brotherhood of War series by W.E.B. Griffin
The Corps series by W.E.B. Griffin

The Right Kind of War by John McCormick

Men in Green Faces by Gene Wentz and B. Abell Jurus

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Slow Walk in a Sad Rain by John P. McAfee

1812 and Eagle's Cry by David Nevin

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Faded Coat of Blue, Call Each River Jordan, and Shadows of Glory by Owen Parry

Look Away and Until the End by Harold Coyle

Body Count by William Turner Huggett

Fields of Fire by James Webb

Battle Cry by Leon Uris

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coounts

1 comment:

Chris said...

Carole, thank you for such a thoughtful essay. His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis is an excellent non-fiction book about a legendary man. His acts were treason against the Crown and, had he failed, would have cost him his life. His bravery and risk, his command and leadership, his character, are all amazing, and without them, where would we be today as a country?

Another great book is Home Before Morning by Lynda Vandevanter, her account of being an Army nurse in Vietnam. It was one of the first memoirs of a woman Vietnam Vet I had read, and very eye-opening. I saw the author speak about 15 years ago; she died in 2002 at the age of 55.