In honor of Memorial Day and those in the military, I've decided to rerun a newsletter about a man I deeply respect and admire who has supported members of the military and their families for years. His name is Andrew Carroll and I wrote this after a meeting with Andy a few years ago...
Last week I had an opportunity to visit with Andrew Carroll, the amazing young man I wrote about in Stand Up for Your Life, who published the New York Times bestselling book "War Letters," a book that gave readers a first-hand experience of the life-changing effects of war. Andy is a passionate young man who has done an outstanding job of honoring the men and women of the military by sharing their stories through the thousands of letters he's collected from around the world. And he's donated all of his advance money and proceeds from the book to veteran's groups.
His next book, "Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters and One Man's Search to Find Them," follows his three year journey across the globe (including visits to Afghanistan and Iraq) to meet with veterans and active duty troops, as well as family members who have lost loved ones to war. During his meetings, people generously offered their private letters for inclusion in his book. From Andy's personal story, to his photographs and deeply revealing letters, I was moved to tears while reading the book. It's a powerful testimony to the bravery and commitment of military men and women everywhere.
Today we celebrate Memorial Day here in the US, and I thought it appropriate to write about the importance of remembering members of the military. While we enjoy the luxury of day-to-day living and the comfort of being close to loved ones, service men and women live in harsh, sometimes brutal environments, and go without contact with loved ones for up to months at a time. "Some of the most emotionally intense war letters ever written make no reference to battle," Andy says in his book. "They are heartfelt messages by parents and spouses writing home about missing the birth of a child or a wedding anniversary or a family reunion." Imagine making that kind of sacrifice.
Andy's book not only does a great job of capturing the direct experience of war for military men and women, it also reflects their concerns about the effect of war on their loved ones. "They want people to understand the toll it takes not only on combatants, but on their family members - and especially those who will receive a phone call or knock on the door informing them that their loved one has been killed. The wounds they suffer are every bit as traumatic and searing as the one sustained on fields of battle, and they will last for the rest of their lives."
This week's message is simple and important. Today is a day to remember the families who long to be reconnected with their loved ones, the sacrifice made by the men and women actively involved, and the moms and dads and sisters and brothers who have given their lives in service to their country.
For those of you in the military who might be reading this newsletter, I remember you and I pray for you and your family.
Take Action Challenge
Please take a few moments to visit our military prayer vigil page in the community section of our website and offer a prayer for those who would so appreciate your support. We've maintained this page since the war began. You'll find it here.
Also, please check out Andy's books including his most recent two: "Grace Under Fire: Letters of Faith in Times of War, and Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. It might make for a great Father's Day gift for someone special. All proceeds go to support veteran's groups.