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With Deepest Thanks

Members of The 54th Massachusetts Regiment

My dad is a great storyteller—I suspect that I got my urge to spin tales from him—so I grew up hearing his stories from World War II and Korea. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much he didn’t tell us. He told us about his adventures and places and funny events. He could spin a lot of funny out of pretty awful.

He didn’t tell us what it was like to be under fire, to see people die, to kill, to wonder if he’d live to see his first child.

He told us what it was like to be eighteen and head off into the unknown.

He didn’t tell us what it was like to be eighteen and head off to war.

Eighteen.

At eighteen I thought it was scary to head off to college.

Millions of young men—and later women—like my dad, headed off to defend their homes, their families, their countries, and a concept called freedom.

We owe them all. We owe them more than we can imagine.

When I was researching my World War II novel, I watched a British series about the invasion of the Guernsey Islands. The residents went to bed as FREE, British citizens and woke up the next day to a German invasion force. They lost all their freedoms in the space of hours.

Hours.

To say I was sobered by this would be an understatement. Without those willing to stand in the gap, we’d all be hours from losing our freedom.

I don’t have adequate words to express my thanks to all those who have stood their ground and fought against tyranny and injustice, who have faced real peril, who have pushed back those who would take our country and our freedom away from us.

Thank you. May God bless you and your families.

Perilously yours,

Pauline