Final Salute by Jim Sheeler
Final Salute looks deep into the inner part of grief and sorrow that is experienced by families affected by the war in Iraq. The numbers of people lost in the war reverberate and ripple through numerous lives both on the battle field and the home front. The thousands of lives lost represent tens of thousands of those who loved them and are affected by their deaths.
The book gives the reader a sense of intense sadness and loss but you don't want to stop reading it the way you don't want to stop listening to a sad song. It touches a nerve which gives a far deeper grasp of and sympathy for those who are directly affected. It helps put a face on the numerous fallen heroes.
Jim Sheeler tells each family's story genuinely and without a hidden agenda. When finished, the reader is left with a strong sense of the tremendous sacrifice given. The story is told from a variety of viewpoints including the wives and children, parents and siblings, fellow soldiers as well as casualty assistance officers who notify and provide support to the families once the news is shared with them.
Included in the book are striking photographs capturing moments throughout the families ordeals which provides an additional element of realness. Sheeler first wrote the stories for a newspaper which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.
Those who make flippant comment about the military would do well to read the deeply personal stories of these families and how the soldiers they loved willing volunteered and served their country. Politicians would also do well to read this book and put a face on the people and families they are sending into battle. If you want an understanding of the impact and loss experienced by countless families as a result of the war, read this book.
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