I have a special affinity for short stories of America’s soldiers at war. Reader’s Digest recently published a compilation of these stories in Stories in Uniform: A Look at the Heroics, Sacrifices, and Triumphs of our Soldiers. The stories are written by different authors.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
Beginning with World War I and continuing through the war in Iraq, readers will follow soldiers into the trenches, peer in on emergency surgery taking place in the depths of the ocean, watch heroes carry the bodies of fallen brethren, trail Eisenhower for the three days leading up to D-Day, and be inspired as men and women rise above and beyond normal human limits to preserve our rights and save their friends.
Two of my favorite stories are about pilots. The first is about Eddie Rickenbacker – America’s best ace in World War I. The story of Rickenbacker, as told by Lowell Thomas (a World War I and II journalist), is crazy. Rickenbacker lived by the seat of his pants his entire life and almost lost his life several times. Thomas recounts many of Rickenbacker’s adventures from his racing of cars to flying as a fighter pilot in World War I to running Eastern Airlines. I not only enjoyed reading about Rickenbacker’s adventures, but also getting to know what made him tick.
The second story is about the rescue of Scott O’Grady as told by author Malcolm McConnell. O’Grady was the F-16 pilot that was shot down over Bosnia in June 1995. McConnell takes the reader through the harrowing experience of O’Grady as he evaded Bosnian troops sent to find him, the fears of his family as they awaited word of his fate, and the quick planning of the men given the mission to rescue O’Grady. McConnell captures the emotions of all those involved.
As a whole, the stories elicit a range of emotions – from pride to tears to anger.