War Memorials – Washington, D.C.

War Memorials – more than a tourist attraction

One of my favorite places to visit is Washington D.C.  There are many things to see and learn there and it is an easy city to get around in.  I recently had the privilege of being there again and made it a point to stop at several of the war memorials.  Standing in the midst of the columns of the World War II memorial, I contemplate the things I have learned about that conflict.  My grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was severely wounded, he made it home while his entire platoon perished.    I watched the IMAX documentary about D Day and was, as always, awed by the sacrifices made by so many, not just from the U.S.trudging-through-winter-sm-2

In my latest novel, the characters travel to our nation’s capital and visit the war memorials.  I am moved by the “Wall.”
The Vietnam War memorial.  While I did not know any of the men or women whose names are engraved on that surface, I am from their generation.  I received a draft “lottery” number (number 4).  Had that war continued I might have been involved personally.  It is easy to see the emotions of those who have lost loved ones, as they run their fingers across the names.  The Korean War memorial, however, moves me more than all the others.  Its design is so compelling that one feels as if they are walking with the war-scarred men in the unit portrayed.  Seven-foot tall statues of life-like soldiers are walking on patrol.  In the faces of the statues can be seen the stress of war and the distress of fighting.  This is complemented and multiplied by the polished granite wall bearing the engraved actual faces of many service men and women who we involved in the Korean War.

Most of us know little about the Korean War.  There were few movies and books written.  It was a more obscure conflict, yet it affects us today.  We still keep a strong military presence in South Korea, “just in case.”  We do not trust the leader of North Korea and fear that war could be sparked with little provocation.  At the outset of the war our soldiers had been away from war just long enough to have lost much of the experience from World War II.  They landed in Korea over confident and unprepared for the harshness of the terrain and climate.  The battles were bloody and losses were staggering.  At best the war ended in a stalemate that goes on today.

Korean War veterans don’t get much play in the media.  I hope that, in my portrayal of a tiny piece of the action, I have honored their efforts and their memory.Small Witness Cover JPEG

Witness in the Window is a fiction novel whose main character, Dr. Jack Sharp, is faced with danger as he and his family
are threatened by an old enemy.  Wayne Jackson is a Korean War veteran who lives with his daughter, Teresa.  One night he is sitting in his wheel  chair, staring out the back window of their house.  In the darkness he sees a jogger moving along the bike path.  The figure is attacked by another person, but it is too dark to make out any features.  Suddenly two security lights come on illuminating the scene.  The woman jogger, who was attacked, yanks off his mask.  The man runs away, but not before Wayne sees his face clearly.  Nevertheless, Wayne cannot tell anyone about it.  For some reason he has not spoken in 3 years.

Purchase Witness in the Window:  Here for Kindle     Here for Nook   Also available in paperback on both sites

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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1 Response to War Memorials – Washington, D.C.

  1. Barbara Dodge says:

    Scott, I too have visited the war memorials and find them sobering to say the least. Even overwhelming. Each name has a story and a family connected to them. The shock, sadness suffering and loss cannot be measured. But, having these places to help us remember them is a gift as well as a responsibility. Have you visited the Law Enforcement Memorial? It too, will take your breath away. That one is especially powerful to me as my husband’s name is engraved there. And, now I have many friends who also have family members names there. After that wall was dedicated, I said that I found it to be a promise… a promise etched in stone that the sacrifices of our loved ones will not be forgotten. I hope others who have famiy and friend’s names on the other memorial walls will find some comfort in that promise. My prayer for all of those survivors, “May God bless you and keep you. May God’s eyes shine upon you and give you peace. And may you wake up every morning aware of the strength and courage within you because of their sacrifices and yours.”
    Thank you, Scott for calling our attendtion to all of these beautiful and powerful memorials.

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