In this poignant collection of stories by 45 Ohio military mothers, one really starts to feel the impact of sending a child off to war.
Janie Reinhart and Mary Anne Mayer first wrote their own stories and then shared those stories with military support groups and other military moms. They asked for others to write their stories and explained how cathartic it was to focus on the feelings and commit them to paper.
Some women did, but it was not until Regina Brett "put out the call" on her NPR radio show that the stories came pouring in. By the time the ladies reached their homes after leaving the studio their email boxes were filled with people wanting to contribute and tell their story.
This book is a collection of 45 of those stories and includes mothers from all walks of life. The mothers talk of their fears, their pride, their concerns and most of all their love for the child who chose to enlist. As one mother says "It's not my choice for his life, but it is his life and his choice and I am so very proud of him."
Personal feelings about the war itself are not even considered - they are meaningless. These women write about love and deep, relentless pride in their sons and daughters. They tell of their experiences as well as their connection with various support groups and other mothers.
It is at the same time an easy read (less than 250 pages of down-to-earth "normal" writing) and one of the hardest books you will ever read. You will feel a portion of the pain and the pride these mothers experience. You will be glad you chose to read this book.
It should also be noted that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to charities benefitting wounded veterans.