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Chapter 23 - Band of Brothers

For many of us, especially those who live at the beach, Memorial Day is the start of the summer season. Schools are getting out, visitors are coming to the beach, traffic is constant, and the store gets very active with lots of wonderful readers. At Bookends we normally take off Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day to restock the store, take a deep breath, and get ready for what we hope is a crazy, busy, summer.

Sometimes we forget that Memorial Day is not just about getting ready for summer. It is a day to honor those who have died in wars, both declared and undeclared. The United States has been in many wars throughout our short history as a nation. If you think of all the men and women who gave their lives to end tyranny, protect our country, or help others to do the same, it is remarkable. We have a memorial at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex that flies flags from all service branches and shows how many died in each war. Sadly, there is space to add more.

So with a thought to honoring those who have given their lives to make our country and, in fact the world, a better place, here are some books both fiction and non-fiction to consider.

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose - Stephen Ambrose is a terrific historian with many books to his name, Band of Brothers is one of my favorites. This story follows Easy Company from its training in northern Georgia in 1942 to its disbanding in 1945. These are the men who parachuted into Normandy and made their way through multiple battles to capture Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Bavaria.

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig - A group of 28 Smith College alums left their homes in 1917 to help reconstruct French villages devastated by the Germans during World War I. What they found and how they succeeded in their mission is all part of this captivating novel. The event is a fictionalized account of what actually took place.

The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauff - If you want to know all you can about the American Revolution, this is the book for you. Middlekauff's book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, details the history of the relationship between England and the colonies from the French and Indian Wars on. This nonfiction book is a full but easy read.

Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara - Shaara is a novelist who uses documents, logs, and diaries to write his historical novels and Gods and Generals is one of his best. This and Killer Angels by Shaara's father Michael are bookends of an incredible story and battle that turned the tide in the Civil War.

We Were Soldiers Once and Young by Lt. General Harold T. Moore - n November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The story of how these men persevered and never gave up is amazing.

Are there any books which help you remember the bravery of many on Memorial Day? Let me know!


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