Benjamin Busch, veteran and writer, penned the introduction to upcoming anthology, Standing Down (coming from the Great Books Foundation this October), which pulls together a wide-ranging assemblage of writing on war, an exciting addition to war literature collections.
Last November, Busch, author of the thoughtful and beautifully crafted memoir Dust to Dust (about war, grief, parents, childhood, living…), read a concise piece on the silences of war, looking back on his grandfather and World War II. You can hear him over at Talking Service and read the transcript at NPR, along with an essay by veteran David Abrams on the incongruities of war, which Abrams so engagingly brings forth in his satiric novel, Fobbit.
Here’s some of the take-away from Benjamin Busch:
“There are 22 million veterans living in America today, civilians again, mowing their lawns and waiting in lines.
In the six years since I left the Marines, what always strikes me is a veteran’s enduring attachment to their unit, their clear memory of places and comrades, the stunning drama of their missions or unique situational comedy of their labors. Most of these stories are never heard, because no one ever asks for them.
We mention sacrifice on days like this, but sacrifice likely isn’t the thing a veteran will recall. It will be the stories. It’s these tales that make military experience comprehensible to those who never serve in this way. What if today — instead of thanking a veteran for their service and then passing by — you take a moment to ask them for a story? We’ve all got one to tell.”
– Benjamin Busch, on NPR, Veteran’s Day 2012