They are the troops that nobody wants to see, carrying a message that no military family ever wants to hear. Since the start of the war in Iraq, Marines like Major Steve Beck found themselves charged with a mission they never asked for and one for which there can be no training: casualty notification. In Final Salute, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Sheeler weaves together the stories of the fallen, the broken homes they have left behind, and one man's effort to help heal the wounds of those left grieving. But it is not a book about war, politics, or liberal vs. conservative. Achingly beautiful and honest, it is a book that every American-every human-can embrace.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheeler (Obit: Inspirational Stories of People Who Led Extraordinary Lives) pays eloquent tribute to the soldiers who have died in Iraq and their devastated families. The author spent two years shadowing Maj. Steve Beck, a marine in charge of casualty notification, as he delivered the news of battlefield death to families. Sheeler puts readers in Beck's shoes as he walks up to houses, delivers the knock on the door so dreaded by military families and tries to comfort distraught spouses and parents. Sheeler provides intimate sketches of the fallen soldiers like Marine Staff Sgt. Sam Holder, who died while drawing enemy fire away from an injured comrade and follows up as grieving families try to put their lives back together. The children left behind are often the most tragic figures: the young son of army PFC Jesse Givens asks if he can "be a little boy again" when he goes to heaven so that he can play with his dad. Dedicated to "everyone who opened the door," Sheeler's book is a devastating account of the sacrifices military families make and should be required reading for all Americans.
Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives
Final Salute is a great read for Memorial Day!
Jim Sheeler followed Major Beck for two years when Beck took the bad news to families of Marines lost in the Iraq war.
Sheeler puts the reader right there with Beck as he approaches the door, faces parents, spouses and children, and rises to help them cope with their grief in follow-up visits. The stories that come out of these two years are truly, deeply moving. You will be touched not only by the great men who sacrificed their lives for America's beliefs for freedom, but of the families they left behind!
Best book I've ever read
The beyond a wonderful book, I have it on hard copy also. From the moment I read it, the book just drew me in. I have shed tears for this book and the people in it. After I read this book, I joined the Marine Corps. This book is an awesome read, and everyone should read this inspiring book at least once.