Veterans Day Author Spotlight. An inside look at the life of a military family.

If my story can help overwhelmed military spouses gain a new perspective, I want to make it available to them.– Krista Graham, Author of Deployment Diaries.

In honor of both Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, we at Lulu want to take a moment, not only to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of our Veterans, but also to acknowledge military families – those who have loved ones currently serving. For some, today can be a very emotional day, particularly if a parent or spouse is deployed overseas.

Krista Graham is an Army Wife and a Marine Mom who recently published an account of her husband’s year of service in Kuwait. Krista was kind enough to share her perspective on Veterans Day, writing and being an Army Wife tasked with “holding down the fort” during her husband’s deployment.

How many family members do you currently have serving in the military?

My husband is a Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard and one of my sons is serving in the Marine Corps. He is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012.

Tell us about your motivation for writing a book.

I didn’t set out to write a book.

My husband was deploying to Kuwait with the Army National Guard. It was his first deployment, so I knew that all of our family and friends would be concerned and would want to know how things were going for us back home. I decided I’d send weekly email updates to them. This was also therapeutic for me because I’ve always found writing to be an excellent way to process my feelings and sort my thoughts. By writing about the events of our lives, I could distance myself emotionally from them and look at them objectively. I could also see the humor in even the hard things that happened to us. Week after week, I wrote these anecdotes. They were circulated among distant relatives and even posted on the Army unit’s Facebook page for other soldiers and their families to enjoy. When I saw how popular the stories were, and how much the other Army wives related to them, I decided to compile them into a book.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I chose self-publishing in order to make my book widely available as quickly as possible. There are thousands of families experiencing deployments right now. A friend told me, “This needs to get into the hands of every military family so they know what to expect and how to get through it.” If my story can help overwhelmed military spouses gain a new perspective, I want to make it available to them.

What advice do you have for other Army Wives?

Keep your sense of humor and a long-term perspective. My priority was to set a positive tone for our five kids. I wanted them to feel secure that I was not falling apart. Keeping busy, doing projects, accomplishing goals, and doing a lot of fun things with the kids made the year a good experience for them. I didn’t want to just hunker down in “survival mode.” I wanted to thrive!

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day means a lot to me — not just because of the significance of the day itself, but because of what it has meant to our family personally. Three years ago, while our son (who is now a Marine) was in high school, he entered an essay writing contest for Veterans Day. He wrote about a Vietnam veteran visiting the Memorial Wall in D.C. The essay was profoundly moving and insightful, depicting the way being a soldier defines one’s life and the conflict experienced when one actually returns from war having survived when others have died. When my son read that essay aloud, his dad was moved to tears. It was a sobering moment for me because that’s when I knew that our son would most definitely join the military one day. He was sworn into the Marine Corps on November 10th last year, at the age of 17, just one day before Veterans Day.

Do you have any plans for another book?

I am always writing something. I have no doubt another book will follow this one. Perhaps I will write about the experience of my son’s deployment next year. I have also begun a series of personal reflections in a more serious spiritual genre. Perhaps those will find their way into a book. I have several projects underway.

You can order Deployment Diaries here.

Follow Krista on Twitter.

Also check out http://mydeploymentdiaries.com

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
    Here’s one for all Veterans:
    In Harms Way is a somber phrase that leaders often use,
    It’s a catchy phrase that in many ways is just a deadly ruse.

    They send us forth with the simple choice to live and often die,
    Without a thought and without a care as they let our family cry.

    In Harms Way are powerful words to use in thoughtless jest,
    To send a boy with hope and pride to his place of final rest.

    The cause is just and the need is clear we often hear them say,
    Patriotic words to blind our eyes and send us on our way.

    “I have a dream,” said a man of peace, with a bold and hopeful cry,
    His dream was not to send our best to foreign lands to die.

    “What happened to our dream of peace?” old warriors often cry,
    The war we fought to end all wars was that another lie?

    We went to war to keep our sons from going In Harms Way,
    Was that a dream or another lie or a separate price to pay.

    I once took pride with a boastful stride as I marched with glee to war,
    “In Harms Way” we heard them say about our Ranger Corps.

    I paid the price, my dad did too, my grandpa led the way,
    It’s time to stop this endless game, make war no more I pray.

  2. Tommy (with apologies to Kipling) – Written by Patrick Campbell RM

    They flew me ‘ome from Baghdad with a bullet in me chest.
    Cos they’ve closed the army ‘ospitals, I’m in the NHS.
    The nurse, she ain’t no Britisher an’ so she ain’t impressed.
    It’s like I’m some street corner thug who’s come off second best.
    Yes, it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “You’re not welcome ‘ere”.
    But when Saddam was collar’d, they was quick enough to cheer.

    They’re proud when Tommy Atkins ‘olds the thin red line out there,
    But now he’s wounded back at ‘ome, he has to wait for care.
    Some stranger in the next bed sez, “Don’t you feel no shame?
    You kill my Muslim brothers!” So it’s me not ‘im to blame!
    An’ then the cleaner ups an’ sez “Who are you fightin’ for?
    It ain’t for Queen and country ‘cos it’s Bush’s bloody war!”
    It’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, what’s that smell?”
    But it’s “God go with you, Tommy,” when they fly us out to ‘ell.

    O then we’re just like ‘eroes from the army’s glorious past.
    Yes, it’s “God go with you, Tommy,” when the trip might be your last.
    They pays us skivvy wages, never mind we’re sitting ducks,
    When clerks what’s pushing pens at ‘ome don’t know their flippin’ luck.
    “Ah, yes” sez they “but think of all the travel to be ‘ad.”
    Pull the other one. Does Cooks do ‘olidays in Baghdad?
    It’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, know your place,”
    But it’s “Tommy, take the front seat,” when there’s terrorists to chase.

    An’ the town is full of maniacs who’d like you dead toot sweet.
    Yes, it’s “Thank you, Mr Atkins,” when they find you in the street.
    There’s s’pposed to be a covynant to treat us fair an’ square
    But I ‘ad to buy me army boots, an’ me combats is threadbare.
    An’ ‘alf the bloody ‘elicopters can’t get into the air,
    An’ me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That’s why I’m laid up ‘ere.
    Yes, it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, “We ‘ave to watch the pence”;
    Bold as brass the P.M. sez, “We spare them no expense.”
    “But I’ll tell you when they do us proud an’ pull out all the stops,
    It’s when Tommy lands at Lyneham in a bloomin’ wooden box!

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