War’s a Terrible Thing: 100 Year Anniversary of WWI

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Today (or thereabouts) marks the 100th year anniversary of the beginning of World War I. It was a bloody war. Twenty-seven-(ish) nations engaged. Old Civil War tactics were still being used by incompetent generals despite the invention of much more accurate weaponry. So soldier after soldier died in futile charges, raising the body count of World War I to historic levels. Poisonous gas tore through men’s lungs as they died drawn out, horrible deaths.

I never knew my maternal grandpa. But I know he and his brother fought in World War II. And I know his relatives a generation before, uncles, older cousins, maybe even his dad, all fought in World War I.

The generations were spaced such that the fathers who sacrificed to fight in World War I had to see their sons make the same sacrifice in World War II. Men fought and bled and died. Women raised kids alone, wrote long letters, and cried themselves to sleep. Children grew up not knowing “Daddy.”

Much has changed in a hundred years. Men flew to the moon and walked in Space. Computers were invented and shrunk to fit into one’s hand. The world got smaller as global communication increased. But we still have soldiers sacrificing years of their lives in foreign battlefields. We still have moms (and some dads) raising kids alone, writing long letters (and emails now too), and crying themselves to sleep at night. Military children beg for “Daddy” (or Mommy) when Daddy’s thousands of miles away.

But now there is no draft and our wars are fought by a much smaller force. So it’s a lot easier to forget the soldiers far from home, the spouses trying to keep it all together on the homefront, the children begging for “Daddy” or “Mommy”.

My husband got his deployment orders the week after our son was born. We were in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Our son had a brain infection and was fighting for his life. The doctors thought even if he survived, he might never walk or hear again. My husband received the orders that he’d have to leave for the Middle East for a year. And we were lucky. Back in the surge, soldiers left for two years at a time.

In 2013, my husband returned home safely and our son, praise God, is a perfectly healthy two-year-old. But I’ll never forget how war changed our family’s life.

War’s a terrible thing. It was a terrible thing one hundred years ago and it’s a terrible thing today. The least we can do is support our soldiers and their families who are bearing the brunt of it right now, today, in 2014.

 

Anne Garboczi Evans is an author with Hartline Literary Agency. She is currently working on a world religions book entitled, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, and the Cross.

Cherie Burbach

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Today we welcome Cherie Burbach, freelance writer and artist, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

 

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Cherie: If I have to pick just one, it would probably be What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. 

 

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Cherie: I’d be Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird because having Atticus Finch as a father would be pretty cool. 

 

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Cherie: Paris! Went there for the first and only time on my honeymoon and it was the trip of a lifeline. I’m obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and anything French.

 

birdsThank you, Cherie, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! ReadersLeave a comment for your chance to win a print of your choice. Check out all her artwork at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CherieBurbach

 

Cherie Burbach is a freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She has published over 1,000 articles on the subjects of health, sports, lifestyle, and friendship. She’s written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Happen Magazine, Philips Lifeline, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com/.

Yet Another Crew Member-Anne Garboczi Evans

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Today we give a big shout out to our newest Crew Member, Anne Garboczi Evans!

 

(1)  Welcome to the Writing Prompts Crew. Tell us a little about yourself.

Anne: I’m the mother of an opinionated two-year-old boy, “Joe-Joe,” wife of a National Guardsman/police officer who works too many hours (hint, hint, honey ;) ), and a writer, social organizer, and outdoors enthusiast.

I grew up in the D.C. area and now live in sunny Colorado. A typical summer day for me involves trying to convince “Joe-Joe” that “no, water will not kill you if it touches you” (midst screams of protest); organizing a neighborhood Ultimate Frisbee Game, and popping down to the local mosque in a hijab researching my latest book, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, & the Cross.

 

(2)  How did you become interested in being a writer?

Anne: Reading came as easily as breathing to me. And after you’ve read enough books, it’s just a matter of time before you want to write one. Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical fiction novels inspired me to put pen to paper for my first full-length novel at age fifteen. And once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. So instead of joining Write-oholic’s Anonymous, I decided to find a lit agent.

 

(3)  Can you tell us three unique things about you that we may not know?

I got a perfect score on the SAT. Yes, over ten years later, I’m still pathetically proud of that. :) I love the outdoors. If I could find a way to plug a laptop in outside, I’d probably never come back in. As a teenager, I once put a frog in a random guys’ dorm at a college. I wasn’t even a student at that college; I just thought it would be fun.

Thanks, Anne, for dropping by!

Anne Garboczi Evans is an author with Hartline Literary Agency. She is currently working on a world religions book entitled, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, and the Cross.

 

 

WWI – Vimy Ridge – by Jennifer Robson

Natalie Brown/Tangerine PhotographyIn the summer of 1989, right after finishing my first year of university, I went to France. Not to backpack around the country, nor to soak up some culture and inhale bread and cheese until I could no longer fit in my clothes, although I ended up doing all those things, too. No—I was there to work as an official guide at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

The memorial is built on what is still considered, by many Canadians, to be hallowed ground. It had been there, at the great crest of land looking out over the Douai Plains, that Canadian forces triumphed against German forces in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. Although the land they won was lost in later offensives, the Canadian victory in that battle was one that resonated in my young country for many generations.

As a guide at Vimy, I spent my days at two sites at the memorial park: either at the memorial itself, which stands at the very edge of the immense ridge and can be seen for many miles; or at the park’s reconstructed system of trenches and tunnels. That summer—so long ago, and yet so clear in my memory—we were honored by the visits of a number of veterans of the Great War.

One day, I recall, an entire busload of British veterans arrived, and delighted us with their recollections of the war. They were all in their nineties, some even older, and of course they are all gone now. Yet my memories of those remarkable men, their reaction to seeing the rebuilt trenches, and their emotions upon recalling the loss of friends and the horrors they experienced—all those moments are so clear to me that they might have happened yesterday.

It’s true that the war began a century ago. It’s true that living memory of those years is all but gone. But it doesn’t seem distant to me. I shook their hands, you see. I shook the hands of the veterans I met that summer, and I looked them in the eye, and I thanked them. I promised I would never forget.

I’ve been asked, many times now, why I write about the First World War. I think, in some ways, it was inevitable. I grew up in a house where it was a constant subject of conversation—my father, a university professor, taught its subject for many years, and at his suggestion I read the poetry of Wilfred Owen, and the memoirs of Vera Brittain, when I was still in my teens.

But it was only when I went to Vimy, and saw its beautiful memorial for the first time, that I truly began to understand. There are 11,285 names engraved on the memorial—the names of every Canadian, as far as could be determined, who was killed in France during the war and who had no known grave. Take a moment, now, and think of that: more than eleven thousand men who disappeared. Some of them are certainly buried elsewhere, under a headstone that reads “Known Unto God” or “A Soldier of the Great War,” but many of those men simply vanished into the mud, muck, and devastation of the battlefields. For their families, the Vimy Memorial was, and is, their personal memorial.

And that is why, when I observe the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War this August, I won’t be thinking about how long ago it took place. I’ll be thinking, instead, of how I am connected to it by something as simple as a handshake, given to me by men who once stood on Vimy Ridge when it was a battlefield, and my promise that I would never forget.

Writing Prompts Crew would like to thank author Jennifer Robson for allowing us to post the above article.

She took the time out of a very busy schedule to provide this.–Thanks, Jennifer!


Somewhere in FranceJennifer Robson is the international bestselling author of Somewhere in France, as well as the forthcoming After the War is Over (William Morrow/HarperCollins, January 2015). She lives in Toronto with her husband and young children. To learn more about her work, visit her website at www.jennifer-robson.com or her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferRobson.

Photo of Jennifer Robson: Natalie Brown/Tangerine Photography

WWI – Homegrown Hero

YorkIt was called the war to end all wars–a hopeful term. Folks hoped and prayed there would never be another so catastrophic and world-encompassing. We now know they were wrong.

I spent most of my early years in West Tennessee, and even then, so many years after World War I, Tennesseans still reveled in their local hero’s acclaim. I grew up watching the movie with Gary Cooper. I had no doubt, Sergeant York was a real-life hero.

A man who never wanted to go to war, Alvin Cullum York filed for conscientious objector status. This would not exempt him from service, but would put him in a non-combat position. When the initial claim was denied, he appealed. While the appeal was being considered, he was drafted, so entered the United States Army and began his initial training for service.

York kept a diary, and in it, denied that he’d ever been a conscientious objector. He stated he’d refused to sign papers given him by his pastor and his mother, to file for the appeal. None of that really matters, because in the end, he did go. He became one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I.

As a boy, York was denied schooling by his father, to stay at home and work in the fields and hunt so their large family would not starve. After his father died, Alvin became the head of the household. He was a crack shot, a talent that would one day help win a decisive battle in France.

If you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you know the incredible feats that earned Alvin York the medals and recognition. What he had to say about it reveals a lot about the man. “A higher power than man guided and watched over me and told me what to do.”

What did he do? In his own words: “As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. In order to sight me or to swing their machine guns on me, the Germans had to show their heads above the trench, and every time I saw a head I just touched it off. All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.” –http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-soldier-alvin-york-displays-heroics-at-argonne

With 7 men, Corporal York led an attack on a German machine gun nest, took 32 machine guns, killed 28 German soldiers, and with the help of a German officer previously retained, he captured 132 German soldiers. He was soon afterwards advanced to Sergeant.

The war to end all wars changed the world and put the tiny burg of Pall Mall, Tennessee on the map. Alvin York became a household name. Little boys pretended to be him, running up on the enemy and somehow avoiding the amazing volley of bullets to win the day. A boy who’d endured much hardship grew up tough as nails and maybe dumb enough to believe God was for him, so who could stand against him?

Photograph: “York“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Betty Thomason Owens

Molly Noble Bull

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Welcome, Molly Noble Bull, to 3 Questions Wednesday!

 

(1) What is your favorite book?

Molly: Besides the Bible, I would have to say that Little Women is my favorite. I read it for the first time when I was about twelve years old, and it changed my life. I cried when Beth died, and that surprised me. I’d never cried because of what happened to a character in a book previously. I learned from Little Women too—learned that books can create emotion and make one care what happened to a character in a book. Perhaps the fact that I read Little Women at an important time in my life was also part of the reason that later, I became a novelist.

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you be?

Molly: I love the world of Jane Austen. I like the characters in her books, the country where these characters lived and the romantic tone of the Regency era. Jane’s novels caused me to want to read other books set in the Regency period by other authors. So what character would I be? Elizabeth Bennett. However, I would give my heart to Mr. Darcy much sooner than she did.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Molly: I would go to the Holy Land, Israel. To walk where Jesus walked would be wonderful. The good news is that one day I will not only walk where Jesus walked, I will see Jesus face-to-face in Jerusalem during the 1000 years—the seventh day. And there is no other place on earth that I would rather be.

Thank you, Molly, for taking part in 3 Questions Wednesday. Molly is giving away 10 e-book copies of Gatehaven, her Gothic historical with a strong Christian message. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Set in Scotland, in a scary mansion in the north of England and ending in the state of South Gatehaven051513[1]Carolina in 1784, Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull is the story of Shannon Aimee, a young peasant woman who is pleasantly surprised to receive a marriage proposal from the wealthy Earl of Northon. With the reluctant consent of her parents, Shannon agrees to accompany the young earl to Gatehaven, his residence in the north of England with a dark history. Escorted by her lifelong friend, Ian Colquhoun, Shannon embarks on the journey. But before long, she realizes that there is more to Gatehaven than meets the eye.
When deadly deception is revealed and the truth comes to light, will Shannon and Ian be able to save their loved ones before it is too late? Or will the forces of darkness win?

Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas, home of the famous King Ranch, where she and her husband live today. Both her father and her maternal grandfather were ranch mangers (real Texas cowboys) and she lived on a sixty thousand acre Texas cattle ranch for part of her growing up years. Molly and Charlie Bull have never been married to anyone but each other, and they have three grown sons and six grandchildren. All three of their sons are involved in ranching in Texas today.

Molly has published with Zondervan, Love Inspired and Tsaba House, and so far, West Bow Press published her only non-fiction book. Though Tsaba House is no longer in business, they published Sanctuary, and Sanctuary, a long Christian historical sent in France and England, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in a second national contest for published authors that year.

Gatehaven, Molly’s Gothic historical with a strong Christian message, won the Grand prize in the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Since then, Molly sold a Christian western romance to Elk Lake Press, and When the Cowboy Rides Away will be published in 2015.

To find all Molly’s books, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot at online and walkin bookstores.

www.mollynoblebull.com

http://writersrest.blogspot.com

http://bit.ly/Gatehaven