by Libby Malin
This past week, we celebrated Veterans Day. It has a special meaning for my family this year because one of my kids, my son David, is beginning his career as an Air Force officer. He graduated this past May from the Penn State ROTC program, and this November his orders have him down in Columbus, Mississippi AFB for the beginning of pilot training.
This past summer, he took a trip to Langley where he got a ride in a fighter jet. He described it as a "dream vacation." I'm including some pix of him there, as well as one of him and his sister at a military ball last spring. We're proud of him, and, of course, a bit fearful. But we know he's always, always wanted to fly (and yet I'm afraid of flying!), so we're excited he's getting to pursue his dream.
Whenever we attended various ROTC events with him, we always came away with a feeling of immense pride and gratitude. The young men and women who volunteer for military service are an inspiring group, so eager to "be all they can be," to borrow the old Army slogan.
Maybe because of having a son in the military, I find myself drawn to writing military characters into some of my novels. In Fire Me, the heroine's brother is in the Army and about to be deployed. In my upcoming My Own Personal Soap Opera, the hero is a retired Marine. But he's now a marketing executive whose shrewd market assessments and public relations savvy are put to use trying to save a failing soap opera. Hardly the usual story for a retired warrior.
But my goal in writing these characters is to make them normal, not larger than life, but part of life, just as our wonderful men and women in the military are--working, raising families, trying to do their best, knowing at any moment they could be thrust into harm's way.
So, even though Veterans Day is now gone, thanks to all out there who serve or have served and to the families who support them!