“Brave hearts do not back down.” — Sophocles

Welcome to the next stop on the Blog Tour de Troops, put together by the Indie Book Collective.  If you got here from Stephen England‘s website, hello!  The next stop on the blog tour is Paul Rice‘s site.  Take a look at what they’ve got to show you and leave a note for them so you get some free ebooks and so does a serviceman or woman.

Friday, November 11 was Veteran’s Day (Remembrance Day in the UK, Canada, and other Commonwealth nations) this year, a time when we as Americans (or Englishmen and women, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians, to name a few) celebrate the service (and unfortunate sacrifices) of many men and women in uniform who have put their own lives on hold for the good of others.  It’s a day of respectful remembrance, celebration, and appreciation we share with other nations across the globe, thanks to the shared experience of World War I.

The Great War ended on 11 November 1918.  It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

It didn’t.

My great-grandfather served in the US Navy during World War I.  He lied about his age in order to enlist, wanting to fight for the country of his birth.  He was of Irish extraction but born in the United States.  He had only daughters, but his son-in-law served in the Army Corps of Engineers, rebuilding parts of Germany after the end of World War II.

My other grandfather, the son of a Chicago police officer, served in World War II, training fighter pilots on the home front.  He never spoke about his service, but several years before he died he wrote down everything he could remember of that time and gave it to me in a sealed envelope.

Now, three years after his death, I still haven’t been ready to read it, even though I asked him to write it all down for me.  He was buried with military honors, complete with an honor guard.  The flag that draped his coffin is now in the custody of my uncle, his oldest son.

There’s something important to our collective consciousness about soldiers.  Though I have never served myself, I realize know that there have always been servicemen (and women) in my life.  A family friend I called “uncle” who served in Operation: Desert Storm (I wanted to send him snow, because it just wasn’t right that he didn’t have snow in Kuwait), a cousin stationed in Omaha on September 11, friends and classmates who joined the service either because of September 11 or in spite of it, friends who are veterans who have come home after their time as different (and many times, better) people.  Though I have not always agreed with the government’s decisions to deploy troops, I have never wavered in my support or gratitude to these men and women in uniform.

Likewise, I am absolutely fascinated by the military, which is reflected in my fiction–in my imaginings of how things might work in some far future military apparatus.  The military of the Epsilon universe is much different from the reality of today’s modern militaries, though I like to think that I capture some of the camaraderie, some of the loyalty, the brother/sisterhood of arms that seem to be an inherent part of the heartwarming stories we see on the news and in the press on the home front.

Even in the days and weeks where I hated what people were being asked to do for the good of “national security,” my fascination with and appreciation of the military–the servicemen and women thereof–never wavered.

It takes a lot to serve your country, to sacrifice of yourself and your family for the greater good–because it’s not just about one soldier, it’s about their family, their community.  One person’s service changes everyone around them–that’s how I feel, in any case.  It makes us examine our lives, our feelings, the way we think and what we do.  Regardless of where they’re sent or what they’re doing, men and women in the armed services are doing their jobs for the greater good of all.

I have to believe that.  I hope you do, too.

This blog post was made as part of the Blog Tour de Troops, celebrating the service and sacrifice of veterans in the United States and the world over.  We appreciate your time and your service, even if we don’t always show it.

If you’re a serviceman or woman yourself, or a family member of a soldier, I’d love to hear your story.  Just leave a comment below.  If you just want to say thank you to men and women in uniform, drop a note as well.

Leave me your email address in your comment so I can get you set up for a FREE ebook copy of my debut novel, Epsilon: Broken Stars.  Every comment gets you a free copy–and a free book for a serviceman or woman.

Midday Edit: If you have a specific serviceman or woman that you’d like the book donated to, please leave their e-mail address in your comment as well as theirs so I can shoot them a link+code, too.

You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke

And on Smashwords @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/EMBKlitzke