Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wal-Mart orders ‘Faces of Freedom’; proceeds help wounded warriors

A late afternoon email from Rebecca Pepin brought good news. Wal-Mart has ordered 10,000 copies of the book ‘Faces of Freedom’ for outlets in parts of Virginia and South Carolina. Pepin conceived and edited the book as a tribute to U.S. troops who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fellow Florida author Jenn McCollum and I hope to set up a signing here in Jacksonville.

Pepin pulled together professional writers to pen a story about a fallen warrior from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. I can only imagine the headaches of coordinating all those creative types. Each of us agreed to provide the interviews and article at no charge as a small token of our appreciation to the troops who do the hardest job in the world. All proceeds go to wounded warriors and their families.

My own story recounts the life of a soldier from Missouri, Sgt. Michael T. Fuga. As I interviewed his wife and drafted (then redrafted then redrafted) the story, I thought of my mother’s youngest brother who was like a brother to me. He did two tours in Vietnam. The second time he came home, after being wounded, I remember the look in his eyes as he came through the door. I recall the dismay he felt over the lack of support for our troops. Participating in this book project was also a small way of giving something back to someone I loved.

‘Faces of Freedom’ makes each individual sacrifice personal, fleshing out the numbers we hear on the nightly news. The book is a monument in words, one deserving of our support.

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