“Remembering Our Veterans”: A Program and Reads for Veterans Day 2022

On November 11th, we celebrate the day in 1918 when World War I officially ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. In the US, we celebrate it as Veterans Day, in honor of the men and women who have served, who have answered the call of duty to their country, and displayed much heroism and valor in the process.

To commemorate Veterans Day, the Library is presenting a program entitled West Point – Duty, Honor, Country on November 7 at 7pm.

The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, located 50 miles from New York City on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, was founded in 1802, and  is the oldest Army post in the United States.  It is the oldest of the five American service academies and educates cadets for commissioning into the United States Army.

During the Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold attempted to surrender the fort to the British. Graduates include Presidents Grant and Eisenhower as well as Generals Douglas MacArthur, Robert E. Lee, and George Patton. The Army football team was a national power in the mid 20 th century and produced three Heisman winners. Vince Lombardi coached at West Point. 

This illustrated slide presentation by Tom DeStefano explores the history of West Point from its colonial beginnings to the present day. No registration is required to attend this program.

Here are some fiction and nonfiction reads that will not only remind us of the experiences and sacrifices of our veterans, but also the psychological toll of warfare.

Against All Odds: A True Story Of Ultimate Courage and Survival In World War II by Alex Kershaw

Kershaw tells the untold story of four of the most decorated soldiers of World War II-all Medal of Honor recipients-from the beaches of French Morocco to Hitler’s own mountaintop fortress.  Tapping into personal interviews and a wealth of primary source material, Kershaw has delivered a gripping account of American courage, spanning more than six hundred days of increasingly merciless combat, from the deserts of North Africa to the dark heart of Nazi Germany.

All the Ruined Men: Stories by Bill Glose

Dramatic, powerful, authentic short stories of soldiers fighting a “forever war,” in combat and back home. Combat takes a different toll on each soldier; so does coming home. Here are linked stories that show veterans struggling for normalcy as they grapple with flashbacks, injuries (both physical and psychological), damaged relationships, loss of faith, and loss of memory.

A Bridge in Babylon: Stories of a Military Chaplain in Iraq by Owen Chandler

Army chaplain Owen Chandler tells the stories of the men and women serving our country in combat zones around the world — a life few of us know, but thousands of Americans experience every day. As an “embedded presence of hope” Chandler candidly describes the struggle to hold onto faith and hope amid the brutalities of war and the isolation of being deployed.

Brothers in Valor: Battlefield Stories of the 89 African Americans Awarded the Medal of Honor by  Robert F. Jefferson Jr.

Since the American Civil War, scores of African Americans have served with great distinction. Through thousands of historical accounts, photographs, and documentary evidence, Jefferson introduces the 89 black soldiers who continued forward when all odds were against them. The heroes within these pages faced certain death and definite danger without flinching.  Jefferson paints a vivid portrait of African-American soldiers who carried the flag of freedom and how they reshaped the very definition of courage under fire during some of the most harrowing moments in United States military history.

Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor from the Battlefield by Jerry Borrowman

 Arranged by war from the American Revolution to the Iraq War and global in perspective, this book features extraordinary stories of grace under fire from valiant soldiers and noncombatants who rose above the inhumanity of lethal conflict and chose compassion, even knowing their actions could put their lives and liberty at risk.

Immortal Valor : The Black Medal Of Honor Winners Of World War II by Robert Child

The remarkable story of the seven African American soldiers ultimately awarded the World War II Medal of Honor, and the 50-year campaign to deny them their recognition.

In The Company Of Heroes : The Inspiring Stories Of Medal Of Honor Recipients From America’s Longest Wars In Afghanistan And Iraq by James Kitfield

 features in-depth narrative profiles of the twenty-two post-9/11 Medal of Honor recipients who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. This book focuses on the stories of these extraordinary individuals, expressed in their own voices through one-on-one interviews, and in the case of posthumous awards through interviews with their brothers in arms and families.

Into Enemy Waters: A World War II Story Of The Demolition Divers Who Became the Navy SEALs by Andrew Dubbins

Dubbins chronicles the story of the pioneering Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and George Morgan, one of its last surviving members, as they cleared a path for Allied invasion forces and helped win World War II.

Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD by Jason Kander

From political wunderkind and former army intelligence officer Jason Kander comes a haunting, powerful memoir about politics, PTSD, impossible choices–and how sometimes walking away from the chance of a lifetime can be the greatest decision of all.

The Long Take or a Way To Lose More Slowly by Robin Robertson

Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he finds his way from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed film noir to flourish. The Dream had gone sour but—as those dark, classic movies made clear—the country needed outsiders to study and to dramatize its new anxieties. Both an outsider and, gradually, an insider, Walker finds work as a journalist, and tries to piece his life together as America is beginning to come apart: riven by social and racial divisions, spiraling corruption, and the collapse of the inner cities.

Phantoms: A Novel by Christian Kiefer

Torn apart by war and bigotry, two families confront long-buried secrets in this haunting American novel of World War II and Vietnam.

Rebuilding Sergeant Peck: How I Put Body and Soul Back Together After Afghanistan by John M. Peck

Marine Sgt. John Peck survived an IED during the war on terror that left him with a traumatic brain injury, amnesia, and cost him his marriage. He survived another three years later, one that left him with three and a half limbs missing. He’s one of only two living people to survive the flesh-eating fungus he contracted in recovery at Walter Reed, one that left him as a quadruple amputee. And that’s only the beginning of his story. What followed was a recovery nothing short of miraculous. With resilience and the help of advocates like actor and philanthropist Gary Sinise, FOX’s Jennifer Griffin, and Bill O’Reilly, John would use a specialized “Action Trackchair” wheelchair and a newly-built SmartHome to get a third lease on life. In 2016, Peck underwent a groundbreaking bilateral arm transplant, receiving two new arms.

Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery by Tom Cotton

An extraordinary journey behind the scenes of Arlington National Cemetery, Senator Tom Cotton’s Sacred Duty offers an intimate and inspiring portrait of “The Old Guard,” the revered U.S. Army unit whose mission is to honor our country’s fallen heroes on the most hallowed ground in America.

Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy retired)

A retired four-star admiral serves up a readable memoir that’s long on blood and guts including those of Osama bin Laden.  

These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson

In the ten stories of Mogelson’s masterful debut collection, we see lives that have been forever changed by war. The stories are linked by characters that appear and then reappear later on; we meet veterans who are struggling upon their return and, later on, see them in the deployments that first sent them to the battlefield. We fleetingly read about a soldier in one story, who becomes the central protagonist of another and move back and forth in time from active combat at the front to reintroduction into society at home. Mogelson’s stories are bleak and starkly honest, yet are told with an undercurrent of dark humor, which make for an unflinching debut collection.

Three Wise Men: A Navy Seal, a Green Beret, and how their Marine Brother Became a War’s Sole Survivor by Beau Wise, and Tom Sileo

an incredible memoir of family, service and sacrifice by a Marine who lost both his brothers in combat–becoming the only “Sole Survivor” during the war in Afghanistan.

Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors by James Patterson & Matt Eversmann

Shares firsthand wartime accounts describing the courageous battlefield sacrifices of men and women from every branch and operational specialty of the U.S. military, from the Vietnam War through the present.

War and American Life : Reflections on Those Who Serve and Sacrifice by James Wright

This is a book of essays and reflections of a veteran and a historian who has been an advocate and a teacher/scholar. It considers American veterans and how our society needs to understand who they are and what they have done-and the responsibilities that follow this recognition.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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