Tag Archives: Korean War

Veterans Day Tribute

by Rich Weatherly


It’s hard to believe that Veterans Day 2012 has arrived once again. Traditionally, it is observed on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th Month in honor of Armistice Day which commemorated the end of World War I. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in 1918:


“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”


In Australia, Britain, Canada, and South African it is celebrated as Remembrance Day. It is so honored by other members of the Allied Powers in Europe and around the world.


I am old enough to have known veterans of WWI, WWII, the Korean War (officially called a conflict), Vietnam War, and every war since. There are far too many engagements to mention that qualify former service personnel for the Expeditionary Medal which is the standard for recognition as a war veteran.


We celebrate Veterans Day to honor those who served to defend our freedoms. Former President Eisenhower may have said it best.


“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.”


DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, speech, Jan. 10, 1946

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait.

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of us who have served did so out of a sense of duty and honor. In my lifetime I have celebrated Veterans Day with my maternal grandfather a WWI Army Air-corps vet, my dad a Pearl Harbor Attack survivor, uncles who served in Army during WWII, cousins who served in Korea, a multitude of Vietnam survivors and nephews and children of friends who have served in the wars since Vietnam. Let us all take a moment this weekend to reflect on those we have lost, thank those who have served and show them the honor they deserve.
Check with local event schedules this year. While Veterans Day happens this Sunday, November 11th, it is being observed in my community on Nov 9. It will be recognized as a national holiday on November 12th, 2012.

My heart goes out to those who have lost friends and loved ones while serving this great nation and to those representing our Allies.

English: Eisenhower signing of HR7786, June 1,...

English: Eisenhower signing of HR7786, June 1, 1954, this ceremony changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Filed under Veterans Day

Book Review—Small as a Mustard Seed

A Novel by Shelli Johnson


Critical Acclaim

Such beautiful language and rich imagery.” —A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Book Club selection

Stunning. Absolutely stunning.” —Mort Castle, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Moon on the Water

“Johnson weaves words as fluidly as a seamstress weaves threads. The story flows effortlessly, pulling the reader along from one riveting scene to the next. It’s brilliantly and ruthlessly told.” —Janet Britton, author of To Live Each Moment

“With much urgency and authority, Shelli Johnson immediately engages the reader. This is a real page turner, a gripping tale of a family blown apart by tragedy. Yet, ultimately, the novel is redeeming as well, told through the viewpoint of a heroine who will both break and mend your heart. This is a stunning debut novel to what I know will be a stunning career.” —Sue William Silverman, author of Love Sick

Book Description from the author’s website

As a child in 1960′s rural Ohio, Ann Marie Adler finds herself caught between her father, Frank, a veteran who survived the war in Korea but with devastating post-traumatic stress, and her mother, Adele, who is blindsided by the mental illness that accompanied him home. In a series of escalating dangerous episodes, Frank confuses reality with soul-searing memories, believing he’s still a soldier fighting for his life in battle-torn Korea. During the delusions, Ann Marie and her younger sister, Jolene, become the enemy, which leaves them fearing for their lives. Unable to fully protect her daughters, Adele scrambles to keep order while her husband’s threatening and unpredictable outbursts slowly tear the family apart.

I’m a Vietnam War veteran. That is what attracted me to Shelli Johnson’s book initially. Having subscribed to Shelli’s blog, I was already familiar with her writing and enjoyed the information she provided.

Small as a Mustard Seed focuses on the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by a Korean War veteran. This is an unfortunate side effect of war. The book takes you on a journey as seen through the eyes of Ann Marie Adler, a daughter of Frank whose life has been shattered by PTSD. The book occurs during the period from November, 1965 to June 1999. Its genre is literary fiction. It is a heart-wrenching, emotional journey but it conveys a message that resonates at multiple levels. At first I picked up on the PTSD. This disorder has been called combat fatigue, or combat stress syndrome before PTSD became the accepted term; but it’s really about much more than that. Much of the story contains universal nuggets that most all of us can identify with.

As we watch the story unfold, the author gives us near cinematic word pictures of the world around Ann Marie. Character development is at the heart of this story and Shelli Johnson’s characters come alive before us.
I remain convinced this story will resonate at different levels and for different reasons with people from diverse backgrounds. It is very much a book about reflections and universal experiences even though it focuses on the theme of PTSD.

 Parts of the book will sadden you, yet as you read about sad, difficult circumstances you will find seeds of hope. That hope will continue throughout the book and is what makes it so inspirational. In the past much of my reading has been in the suspense-thriller genre. I finished by thinking, this is what classic literature is all about. Small as a Mustard Seed is a book that will hold its own alongside great literature. It is a story I will savor for a long time to come.

Small as a Mustard Seed is one of the most compelling and well crafted books I’ve read in a very long time. I’ve found a new favorite author and Shelli Johnson is that author.


My father leaned forward, his voice dropping a notch lower. “Things were right with me before the hill?”

“Things was right with everybody before that damn hill.” “But me, Leo?” My father drank some more beer then belched softly. “Things were all right with me?”

 Leo’s joint smoldered between his fingers. He shook the beer bottle, flicking beads of water across the floor. “You didn’t act no different than usual. That what you want to know?”

“But after? After I got shot?”

“You didn’t know where you was. Sarge said you was talking funny before the chopper took you. Wasn’t nobody else saw you after that. Hospital and then home. Man, that’s all I know.”


Johnson, Shelli (2011-05-28). Small as a Mustard Seed (Kindle Locations 1368-1379). TEN TWENTY-SEVEN BOOKS. Kindle Edition.

Links to the authors website:


Other Reviews: http://shellijohnson.com/reviews/small-as-a-mustard-seed/


Filed under Book Review, Literary Fiction