Jim Sheeler: Final Salute
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Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Since the start of the war in Iraq, Marines like Major Steve Beck found themselves charged with a mission they never asked for and one for which there can be no training: casualty notification.
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In Final Salute, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Sheeler weaves together the stories of the fallen, the broken homes they have left behind, and one man's effort to help heal the wounds of those left grieving. But it is not a book about war, politics, or liberal vs. Achingly beautiful and honest, it is a book that every American-every human-can embrace. You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.
It is a job Major Beck never asked for and one for which he received no training. They are given no set rules, only impersonal guidelines.
Marines are trained to kill, to break down doors, but casualty notification is a mission without weapons. He held grieving mothers in long embraces, absorbing their muffled cries into the dark blue shoulder of his uniform. He stitched himself into the fabric of their lives, in the simple hope that his compassion might help alleviate at least the smallest piece of their pain.
Sometimes he returned home to his own family unable to keep from crying in the dark.
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This is a wonderful, though not always easy, read. It deals with the deaths of some of our servicemen in the current war, and some of what happens at home as a result.
Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives
It is, of course, terribly sad. But there are also wonderfully uplifting moments as people come together to honor the fallen and try to provide comfort to those left behind.
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One thing I found particularly striking was the tremendous loyalty and sense of brotherhood among those who serve in the military.