Friday, October 12, 2007

I just finished reading the LONE SURVIVOR, by Marcus Luttrell, a current NY Times Bestseller, which as the title suggests is an accounting of what was at the time (still is?) the biggest loss of SEAL special forces in our history. It is a fascinating book on many levels.
I've always been a big fan of special forces books--whether nonfiction (as above) or romance(like Suzanne Brockmann or Linda Howard). To me, there is something inherently sexy about highly trained military men whose physical strength and code of honor seem quintessentially alpha. There is also something undeniably heroic about putting yourself--and your life--on the line for your country.
Recently, I was asked in an interview who was the most heroic person I knew. I struggled a little with the question, but eventually answered as follows: I think of heroes as people who are willing to do something most people won’t (courage) with an element of selflessness (sacrifice) or of courage in the face of adversity (such as illness). There are many people in my life that fit this description from friends dealing with illnesses to our neighborhood police officers and firefighters to the teachers in my kid’s school who show so much more patience than I ever could. But the one person who jumped to mind immediately when I read the questions was a man I recently met in an airport—I don’t even know his name. My husband, kids and I were waiting in the Shannon airport in Ireland to go through immigration with about 300 American soldiers in full camo. We struck up a conversation with a soldier sitting opposite us who was returning from a two week leave on his way back to Baghdad where he’d been for the past 18 months. He’d just said goodbye to his wife and kids for who knows how long. It was one of those very powerful moments when you are looking at this young, good looking guy on his way into a war zone and have no idea what to say. All we could think of was a very insufficient 'thank you.'
As I was reading the LONE SURVIVOR I couldn't help but think about that man at the airport and hope that he is well.
Are you fascinated with special forces books, too? Any good ones that you recommend?