Would just like to take a minute this morning to thank all of the folks who purchased 32 Answered this year; all of the veterans and veterans’ families who contributed materials for the book over the last six years; and, finally, the interested parties whose belief in the significance of the subject matter moved them to help promote the book and get the story out there.
Your author has, as per the original plan, taken another day job that limits the time available to promote 32 Answered as vigorously as it should be done. That said, the book has still sold rather well, and the reviews have remained positive–an indication that the research can indeed stand on its on merits, which it must do for the next several indefinite months.
There is at least one more in-person engagement planned for early in the New Year; after that only uncertainty, depending on interest. World War II, in our collective conscience and among our general interest priorities, seems to have taken a dramatic back seat in 2015, given all of the “distractions” we are faced with in the news these days.
On Christmas Day, 2015, it is difficult to reflect on what a shock the Christmas Day of 1942 must have been for these peace-loving Reservists and Guardsmen of the Red Arrow Division. It is even more difficult to fathom the misery they endured for their first Christmas overseas, spent in muddy foxholes full of water, shot at by enemy snipers and knee-mortars, with nothing to eat but crackers and a rancid meat ration eaten out of a rusty can in between malarial tremors and episodes of dysentery, with clothes and shoes rotting off. In the case of the South Carolina reservists involved, two–Harold Chandler (Citadel ’39) and Ernest Cottingham (Clemson ’41)–did not live long enough even to see their first combat Christmas, and a third–Ben McKnight (Clemson ’41)–died in the field hospital on Christmas Day. Here, the spirit of the men clinging to memories of Holidays past and families far away live on in the heart-wrenching letters, such as the one Lt. Mcknight dictated to a Wisconsin Chaplain from his hospital bed, or the one that Lt. Norm Avinger wrote in absentia to his baby son from the appalling Sanananda-Soputa battlefront in the event he did not see home again, is remarkable. The survivors of the Buna campaign who were still with the unit two years later faced another miserable combat Christmas at Leyte, again dealing with mud, pouring rain, and nothing to eat while on a forced “mopping up” march across the island. In each case, the enduring spirit of American servicemen carried them through, just as it has in conflicts since and still does in the present deployment.
So, again, best Holiday Wishes to all who have supported 32 Answered this year and in the years leading up to publication and release. The posts will continue here, time and motivation permitting, in the New Year, as there are still many fascinating back-stories to share and even some still developing. Keep checking back, and if you have not yet, please do consider “following” this site.
25 December, 2015