“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” President Harry S. Truman
Thank you for your interest in this book. I am proud to have a poem in the anthology to help veterans.
I never considered myself connected to the military. My dad served in the Air Force for a short time. He met my mother at a military dance. They were married in Dover, Delaware, where he was stationed at the time. He had gone into the service instead of playing minor league baseball, but many in his generation entered the military at that time, and many served in combat. My dad did not. Because of that I think men such as he saved the honor for those who did. And those who did, didn’t want to talk about it. My cousin served in Vietnam – but I remember someone saying he can’t and wouldn’t talk about his time there.
Today because of technology such as social media, television and Internet, 9/11 and the war on terrorism are prominent in our thoughts and lives. Images of war and military personnel come to us every day. We even get glimpses from the battlefield. Cameras and cellphones are everywhere and allow current, first-hand news.
My connection to the military was growing and getting closer to home around the time of 9/11. I had met my husband in 1997 and had been in the Army. There were stories of being stationed in Turkey. Then a nephew joined the Army, then another joined the Air Force. Then -- My son joined the Army Reserves. He went to boot camp far away from home. I learned a lot about the military at that point. My daughter, husband and I went to his graduation. Then there was AIT. Then trainings. One nephew has now served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. My son prepped to go overseas but orders were cancelled. He had quit his job, moved home. He finally got two retail jobs before getting on full time at a Reserve Center.
About a year ago, my daughter met a guy who seemed extremely well suited to her in many ways. But he, like my nephew, as I later learned when he posted a suicidal note on Facebook, they both continue to suffer from PTSD from combat in Iraq. After I wrote my poem for the anthology, my daughter and her boyfriend reunited only to break up again recently. It saddens me greatly. I thought she had found the one finally.
I am so happy to be published in the anthology because I am deeply proud of my son, my nephews, my dad (who I lost just this past November), my husband (who was disabled and I also lost a couple years ago) and even my daughter’s ex-boyfriend. Contributing to this book is one very small way that I can give thanks to them and others like them and give back to veterans. It’s not much, but I’ll keep trying. It is very important to me to help veterans, particularly veterans who are living with a disability.
Anita Stienstra’s poems, essays and articles can be found in reviews, newspapers, anthologies and also in six chapbooks. Awards received include the John Knoepfle Creative Writing Award for Poetry, PWLF Presidential Award, and Springfield Area Art Council Artist Advancement Award. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of Wing World magazine and publisher/editor of Adonis Designs Press that annually publishes a teen poetry anthology, Navigating the Maze. Make sure to read her poem about 9/11 – The Vacant Sky. Follow her on Twitter.