Never Forgotten

They starred back at me from the face of the stone cold black granite. Names, so many names. I closed my eyes to trace letters, one by one, with a trembling hand; letters etched deep, forming names; letters etched in memorial. Among the thousands there were six; six names, six faces scrolling through my mind like a photo album long forgotten. A dagger pricked my heart. They were dead; I was alive; war is hell.
It was 1985 and the traveling Vietnam War Memorial had made its way to Worley, Idaho. I was a veteran who never had to face the horror of war, but I wanted to be there—no, I needed to be there—so Karen and I made the short trip from Spokane, Washington on a lazy Sunday afternoon. For the first time in my life, as I read their names, I understood the true cost of freedom. It was six guys amongst the list of thousands represented on those slabs of granite, all having paid the ultimate price for my freedom . . . and yours. I knew those guys; we graduated high school together.
It has been forty years since Vietnam, and the killing fields are still strewn with those willing to buy our freedom with their lives. So on this Memorial Day weekend, with great humility, I will honor all our fallen heroes, past and present, and I will salute all of the men and women who today stand in harm’s way for the cause of freedom. I trust you will do the same.
God Bless America.

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Perseverance

To work at something consistently, that’s how Webster defines perseverance. I define it in a much simpler way. Don’t give up!
It is hard to move those things that we believe in our head the short distance to the conviction of our heart. I find this to be true in many areas of my life; the craft of writing being one of them.
Three years ago I embarked on a journey to become a serious writer; I decided I wanted to write books. How hard could it be? The answer to that question would come quickly and I wouldn’t like it very much; hard, very hard.
Ninety thousand words sprawled out across three-hundred plus pages, arranged in such a way to capture the reader in a compelling story with complex characters worth hitching a ride with until the very last page of a satisfying ending; that is the job of a writer.
What was I thinking?
I have so far to go, but with every small accomplishment the conviction in my heart grows stronger; the passion burns deeper.
Support is the key; to have those who believe in me more than I believe in myself. My wife Karen is first on that list.
Oregon Christian Writers is another such support, sharing 50 years of experience with writers like me, trying to find their voice. So many names, I can see their faces, each playing their part with encouragement and a willingness to share their knowledge to help grow me into the writer that God has called me to be.
With my first full manuscript being considered for publication and my next book well underway, and several short stories sold, I look back on the last three years and smile at how far I have come. As I look ahead I am far less intimidated, but instead I am in awe of the possibilities.
So I will toughen my skin for the rejections yet to come. I will learn, I will grow, I will write, and with each small success I will deepen the passion for story that God has placed within my heart.