I remember the first time I read many of these posts, and how emotional I was at the time. It's no less emotional now, and in some cases more emotional because of recent events that relate to the original posts. For instance, Matt included Smink's post about his last day in the Army, and saying goodbye to his good friend, Sammy:
"Take care, Sammy. I love you, man."
He didn't respond. "Hey, aren't you going to say something?"
"The last time I said something like that, you called me a faggot."
"I was joking then; I'm serious now."
"OK, I love you too." He dropped his salute and proceeded on.
As he left, I yelled, "Faggot. I can't believe you said you love a man."
You can feel the brotherly love shared by these two men again, a year later, when Smink wrote of the death of Sammy's son in Iraq. You can read all of Smink's writing by clicking on the link to his blog, "In Iraq for 365" on my sidebar.
Another favorite is Currie's "Journey's End" post. I miss his raw writing, full of emotion. His MI unit went through hell in Iraq, and it changed all of them. His closing line, "What will I miss about Iraq? Nothing... everything." has always stuck with me. I don't really know why, except that every man and woman who has been over there seems to be so torn between home and war. They want to be home, but they want to finish the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan too. Nothing and Everything sums up what they all seem to miss. (I'm also mentioned in this post very briefly, but that's really not why I like it. Read it and you'll see why) Again, you'll find a link on my sidebar to Currie's blog if you want to read the archives.
Perhaps my favorite post of all time though is the last post in the book, by ArmyWifeToddlerMom, about the return of Dear Husband from the war. She writes about crying while he sleeps, feeling his heart beating, his hands on your back, and being able to smell him for the first time in months. I cry every time I read this post. It's short, sweet, and deeply emotional. I have to agree with her- hearing the heartbeat of the ones you love is indeed the best sound in the world.
I haven't read all of the posts in the book, so I'm sure I'll be pleasantly surprised by many of them. I've met some of the authors at the 2006 Milblog Conference- including Matt, Smink and AWTM mentioned above. They are all so passionate, and fun, and dedicated, and wonderful writers. I love the way Matt laid out the book, with bits of commentary about the authors and their situations, the follow-up stories to let us know what many of the authors are doing now, the mil-lingo glossary, and the detailed index. You did an AWESOME job narrowing down the posts and putting the book together, Matt. Thank you SO much for doing this.
Go buy the book, and a box of Puffs. The soft kind, but not with lotion because when you want to wipe the tears off of your glasses, they leave a slimy film on the lenses.