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Why Every Veteran Should Write Stuff

Veteran blogBoth of my Grandfathers served in World War 2.  One was in the Air Corps and another was in the Army.  If for no other reason, I know this to be fact because my Army grandfather, Buford, would respond when my grandmother started nagging him with, “Oh Hell Oease, I got 5 battle stars but can’t do what I want to do in my own house.  Ok Oease, Ok.” I love it and Oease was Grandma’s name by the way.  Now, I know that Buford was at day two of D-Day and I know my Air Corps Grandfather was somewhere flying supply routes over the Atlantic. But here is the part that makes me cry as a Marine war Veteran myself. I don’t know much else.  I don’t know whether I was too young or too naïve to appreciate the stories they had to tell, but I stand here now wishing I knew more.  However, they are both dead and whatever I might know from firsthand account is lost forever and that saddens me to a degree I cannot express.

Writing is Easy

Now, I have had some moderate success with this blog, but you must know I am only 8 months in to this entire project.  You see, writing for the public is complicated. I can’t express how bad I can be at grammar at times as I edit while one of my 3 children are climbing over me or in the waning hours of the night.  Yet, sometimes, I just let it go and realize I am writing to other humans and hope they will appreciate the thought behind the words over the technicality.

Consequently, for those who say, I can’t write, or I don’t know what to say, let me ask you simply, what would you say to your grandkids long after you are dead?  Do you think your grandkids would critique your grammar or ask you why you failed to address one issue over another?  No, your kids, your grandkids, and your great grandkids when they reached an age to fully appreciate it, would cherish every word whether it is misspelled or not.

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I cannot tell you what I would give to have letters or writings from my grandfather to pour over and read.  I would love it, cherish it, and I would likely cry over it.  I am a grown man now and I could empathize with the 20 something year old man sent to a war zone.  And if he wrote home about the French or German girl he fell in love with, well, I wouldn’t even tell Grandma.  You don’t need to run a blog brothers, but you do need to write. Put it in a shoe box if you want, but write and tell your stories.

Story Time

You see, Veterans have stories. They are not always the stuff that movies are made of, but stories all the same. I could tell you about the time in Iraq I got sick and hitchhiked back to my unit from Al Nasiriyah to Al Kut.  I could tell you about the time I got shot at by my own Marines.  I could tell you about the time that I desperately longed for the taste of a chicken nugget only to have a chicken nugget dinner appear my last day in country, but you might not care.  Yet, to the very few who would read it, it would be a story the rest of creation would never know.  And it would be my story.

You all have them.  Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, there are stories that the world will never know unless you tell them.  Honestly, that is one of the things that excites me most about running this blog. In the end, when it hits the internet, It’s online forever, right?  So my children, my grandchildren will forever be able to read the stories of my war.  They will be able to see who I was at a given point in history and what I thought of life, faith, politics, and yes, even War.  My grandchildren might know a totally different Granddad, but they will be able to look back on these blogs and know who he was in 2015,  and I absolutely love that.

Go Pro Brothers

So, let’s jump to blog stuff. Yes, if you want to write and put it in a shoe box you should.  My goodness you should. Again, you have stories to tell that the world will never know.

Veteran Authors

Now, I literally started this blog after googling, “how to start a blog”.  It led me to WordPress and to Bluehost as a hosting option.  I am going to include a link to Bluehost here as I recommend anyone who is seriously thinking about starting a blog to check them out.  I started this blog thinking 50 people a week reading it would be a great week. Yet, thankfully I chose Bluehost and thus when over 24,000 people viewed my blog in one day, it didn’t crash, I didn’t lose my data, and for an affordable price, it worked.  They will charge you upfront, but once you pay that upfront price, you will find yourself all in and strangely committed to telling your story. Check out what Bluehost has to offer here: Bluehost Web Hosting

This is just my personal testimony. Also use WordPress because everyone uses WordPress.  So when you are an idiot and you don’t know what to do like me, just google the question and I guarantee you someone has already asked it.  After I set up my blog, I literally had to message Bluehost and ask how to get to my blog.  I was clueless.

Full disclosure, if you click my links to Bluehost and purchase, I’ll make a few bucks and maybe pay for gas this week.  Other than that, don’t start a blog to get rich.  Do it because you love it.  Do it because you have a story to tell and your children or grandchildren might actually like it.  In fact, if you have a domain name in mind, you can actually check it below to see if it is already taken.  If you want GruntsKillBadGuys.com  well, type in below and find it.

But just write brothers, please just write even if you put it in a shoe box under the bed.  I would trash this entire blog to have the letters from my Grandfathers or the firsthand accounts of their lives.  Write and put it in a shoe box or write and put it in a blog.  If you start a blog, hit me up and email me.  I’ll do what I can to help you out.  However hear this and hear it loud.  Every Veteran has a story to tell. So tell it to the world and even if only your grandchildren read it, their tears will be all the payment you need.  Write on Vets, write on. No one knows your war better than you.  And your family will be interested in you more than anyone else.

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Jeff Edwards

15 Comments

  1. Inspiring, brother warrior! I look forward to your next blog. This is the reason I started to write!

    Your Friend,
    Jeff
    Rakkasan

  2. Sage advice. Hoping gobs of people take you up on it. The underlying message is why I do what I do.

    P.S. your grandparents had some awesome names.

  3. I wouldn’t have known anything about my Gramps except everyone just kept saying “he was in the Navy during WWII”. Since he passed my father has passed paperwork on to me, I have dug up stuff on the internet and, recently, my Uncle died and he left literally boxes of his research on Gramps and the U.S.S. Melvin. My Aunt didn’t know what to do with it so she gave it to me. Now I sit most evenings reading a manuscript that my Uncle wrote over the course of a decade and submitted to the Dept of the Navy for publishing. They refused, of course. But most importantly I have it. I also have letters written by my Great Uncle Dave, for who I am named. He wrote them while he was on the U.S.S. Hercules, also serving during WWII.
    I recently read about the Battle of Suriago Straits and realized that my Gramps, as a torpedoman, was probably instrumental in sinking the Japanese battle cruiser Fuso. He was also in Saipan, Palau, and provided screening support at Lingayen Bay, withstanding kamikaze attacks.
    I have recently taken to asking my Dad about Vietnam. He and his three brothers and two brothers in law were there. I have even located my Dad’s best friend while he was in the Navy. He stood as my Pop’s best man.
    I apologize. I didn’t mean to ramble. I just wanted to let people know that just because their military family members have passed on to that great Warrior’s Hall, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. Never give up looking and digging. Not to be an ad for it, but Ancestry.com has actually helped a lot. It has provided starting points.
    Thanks for posting this one. It really hits home.

    I don’t have much to tell myself. But when I got back I decided I was going to tell my kids about my experiences. Not the bad stuff, of course. But the funny stories…especially the ones concerning fallen brothers.
    If we speak their name, if we tell their stories, then they live on and we honor their sacrifice each day.

    • Anon,
      One idea is to get that work published as a complete work of fiction. You don’t need their permission for that and you can dedicate the book to your Grandfather and to his “search for the truth”. Catch 22 was written that way and he used real names and everything and at the end he had the disclaimer all events persons and places that resemble anyone in real life is purely a coincidence. Just an idea Andrew Paven

      • That is a good idea. I have wondered about that were I to write a book and what permissions would be needed.

      • Thank you, Mr. Paven. That is an excellent idea. I could probably even do some editing so that the names are slightly different. That might reduce the liability of copyright or infringement.
        I don’t know why it posted me as Anon. I thought I logged in with my facebook.

  4. Great reminder on the need to write it down. My Mom gave me that very same advice when I was still in the Navy but I never took her up on it. Too busy, right? I rationalized then thet I probably didn’t have anything important to say, but after reading your comments I believe some of my heirs might find it interesting. So have I started? No…too busy. But sounds like a great idea after I retire from my current gig. Thanks Jeff!

    • I hear you Dean. I actually work a full time job as well. It was really I just settled on doing it and bought a domain name that things started to come together. Once I put my money where my mouth was, it really did make me take it more seriously. Best of luck to you and let me know if I can help.

  5. Jeff,
    Growing up my family was rich with warriors. I had an uncle that was in the Army and landed on Normandy. They have a picture of him shaking hands with Gen. McArthur. I had a cousin Mike that did 3 tours in VN in USMC and came back in real bad shape with malaria. Then we come to my other uncle Floyd who is the bro of the one in Normandy. He joined the Navy and became UDT. If he Wasn’t a crazy son-a-bitch. Chased his wife up on the roof because she was arguing with her. Haha. Last but not least, we come to my Dad. He joined USMC during Korea and I have forbidden footage (8 mm) of him at Chosin Reservoir. He was an 81mm morterman. Then I entered the USAF as a Security specialist, graduated in top 10 places and got chosen to be Air Base Ground Defense. From there I was inducted into Special Operarions and went to Little Rock for SEAR training and Explosives and incendiary and improvised munitions. Then in October I met the team I would consider my brothers for the next 4 years. We would complete each others sentences. We were so close that we each knew what the other was going to do before we did it. Out of 51 missions in Panama and Honduras we lost only one brother and that death was paid back with over 1000 of their unsuspecting drug army personel. DAPs getting to the point, all the rich history in my own family, I couldn’t and can’t get any of them to tell about their experiences. I can’t imagine them, any of them writing anything down. I don’t understand why. If there is anyone out there that can explain to me why, I’d appreciate it. My cherrished footage of my Dads at Cbosin that was forbidden for me to look at means sooo much to me. They can’t have done anything so much worse than I did in Panama. When we assaulted a compound we were fighting the drug lord’s army but once I placed the munitions we then were fight ing untrained forces,naked, and armed with various weaponry, so it was necessary to wipe most of them out. All between the ages of 10 and 15. I can tell my stories I don’t understand why they couldn’t. I can sleep like a baby, why did they wake with so many nightmares. Andrew Paven

    • Wow man, than is some intense history you were a part of. Truthfully, every Vet seems different and some can talk about and others can’t. I argue that Vets should write to tell the narrative they want known. Like you said, no matter how violent or strange some of it might be, it could be our Veteran Grandkids reading or watching. I understand my grandfather so much more now as a Vet than I ever did growing up.

      • Yeah I don’t know if our veneration is just naturally sedistic, or the good lord is preparing us for times to come. I remember when growing up, when I got into a fight, I would beat the other guy into a bloody pulp. I never started a fight , but through being bullied or just plain being picked on, trouble just found me. My folks usually ended up paying medical bills. My dad, being a marine, once he found out that I didn’t start it, wouldn’t let the school,punish me. But, he would ask me “I understand, you were in the right defending yourself, but why did you have to go so far and beat him so mercilessly?” I replied,”Dad, I wouldn’t want him going and gettin the idea he can do that to other people, I’d have killed him if they hadn’t pulled me off.” He said ” Why can’t you show them some mercy,” I said they wouldn’t show me mercy the other way around. He then got to the crux,” someday, son you are going to do something that you, maybe aren’t so proud of, and you will lose alot of sleep over it.” I said, “Dad, everything I do is part of me and there is nothing my soul or conscience would let me do, that I wouldn’t e proud of.”,”Is that why you don’t sleep so well these days”? He just walked away. I need to explain. Whatever we become during war time. Killing men, women, children, that’s ok in my book because they mean us harm. Now these boys that captured enemy women and raped them, it happens, my soul and conscience would wouldn’t let me make that part of me. Because in turn, I would not want that done to me. Kill me, beat me up, or many other tortures, but don’t rape my little girl, or you will never have to worry about the cops courts or anything except your own judgment. That is why I can sleep like a baby at night. Andrew

  6. Well Jeff – I have visited your site many times in the past and enjoyed (if that is the correct term given the nature of some of your writing) what you have had to say. Interesting timing with this one. I was at work and thinking about finally doing this. Thinking about giving this writing thing a shot. I came home and the first thing that was on my FB was a share of this particular blog post. Can’t get anymore clear than that. My writing started tonight. Thanks brother and keep up the good work. You have a far reaching, positive impact.

    – Your friendly neighborhood Corpsman.

    • No problem Doc! Let me know if I can do anything to help. The best way to do it is to just jump right in and take you lumps as you go.

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