by Fran Haraway
by Jim Sheeler
This month’s book is quite simply - unforgettable. Final Salute examines the lives of several military families whose loved ones will never come home. This powerful account explains how families deal with their grief and how they are shepherded through the processes of learning of the death, burying their loved one, and enduring their lives without their loved ones. Through it all they are guided by one amazing man - Major Steven Beck.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Steve Beck was trained, prepared and even eager to lead troops into battle. Instead he became a “casualty assistance calls officer” - the man who knocks on the door and informs family members that their loved one has been killed. Beck however, doesn’t stop with that announcement. He stays true to the promise, “Never leave a Marine behind,” and he does whatever it takes to make sure families are supported through their terrible times.
This book is also about people like Terry Cooper, the mother of the first person from Colorado killed in the Iraq war. She suffers from multiple sclerosis, but goes to every military funeral so that other grieving parents have someone with a common experience. Then there’s gravedigger Any Alonzo, a perfectionist who makes sure that each grave and stone is worthy of its occupant. And what about Regina Brave, a sixty-five year old Navy veteran who hitchhiked over one hundred miles across the Pine Ridge Reservation to honor Brett Lundstrom, the first Oglala Lakota Sioux killed in Iraq.
Yes, this is a book about coping with grief, but it is so much more. It’s a book about average folks going to way-above-average lengths, not only to honor the dead, but to support the living. It’s about strangers coming together to support one another. It’s about kindness in its purest form - about caring that finds honor in giving and expects nothing in return.
If you have no military connections, you’ll have them after reading this book. Its contents can best be described by Regina Brave’s father who said, “Everywhere you go, you’re there for a reason. You’re either there to help somebody, or they’re there to help you.”
If you are interested in this book or would like to learn more, contact me at info@bouldercity magazine.com.
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