Fascination Friday: A Virtual Memorial Tour

It’s Friday Fascinations and Veteran’s Day. So the links I’ve posted are a virtual memorial tour. A small tribute to the Courage, Honor, Patriotism, and Sacrifice of our men and women of who have served our country.

The Great War

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is in Kansas City, MO. It is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving objects from The Great War which lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918 (does that date sound familiar?). Visitors enter the museum by crossing a glass bridge suspended over a field of 9000 red poppies. Each poppy represents a combatant fatality. The museum’s displays, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits tell the comprehensive story of the war through the eyewitness testimony of people who experienced the war. There are letters, diaries, videos, and newspaper reports. Some of these will bring a tear to your eye. They did mine. It’s an impressive collection and far more material than you can possibly cover in a day. The museum also houses a 20,000 square foot research area that is open to the public.virtual memorial tour, Kansas City WWI museum, lynettemburrows.com

World War II

Depending upon which source you go to, somewhere between 70 – 100 million military personnel were mobilized during the second World War II. This conflict was fought from 1939 to 1945. (Isn’t conflict a nice, clean, distant word to use when talking about a war that had the distinction of the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare and the deadliest in human history with 50-70 million fatalities.) Go here for Digital history’s guided reading list about WWII. And you’ll find 10 things you may not know about World War II.

The Korean War

The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) belonged to my father’s generation. Korea had been ruled by Japan until the end of World War II when the country became part of the spoils of war. It was divided at the 38th Parallel. American Troops occupied the southern half of the peninsula and Soviet troops occupied the northern part. That set up was a formula for war. For more information about this war go to History.com. For one man who would do it again if he had to go here.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was my generations’ war. It was the first time war was shown on the television screen. The consequences were enormous. I hope that American’s will never be so naive about war nor so disrespectful of her soldiers ever again. Please go here for more information. And if you are ever in Washington DC visit the wall, one of the most visually stunning memorials I’ve ever seen.

POWs and MIAs

only woman awarded Congressional Medal of Honor, virtual memorial tour, lynettemburrows.com

This tribute must include our prisoners of war (POWs) and our missing in action (MIAs). For biographies and information about POWs go to American Ex-POWs. A site specifically about women prisoners of war is here. And please, in your virtual memorial tour, be sure to visit Never Forgotten.

A Tribute to Heroes

This has been an emotional tour for me. My husband calls me a sap, a marshmallow. I can’t help it. My heart breaks for all of the lost, the wounded (physical and emotional), and the friends and families of all those men and women.

But my heart also busts with pride because Americans choose to fight, to serve because they believe in the ideals of this country and they hold our flag proudly. I say thank you for your service every time I meet or see a person in military uniform. Today I get the great honor of saying to all those who have served or are currently in service, to the ones I haven’t met and to their families: THANK YOU for your service to our great country. And now I close with one of my all-time favorite music videos honoring and celebrating veterans: “Here’s to the Heroes: a Military Tribute.”

Believe

Do you believe in heroes?

The other day when I revealed the work I’d done on my husband’s website, my husband called me his hero. It took me by surprise. Me? A hero? We talked for a while about what he meant and it got me to thinking about who I call a hero.

Chinese symbol for believe, lynettemburrows.com

As a little girl, I loved stories about heroes and heroines. I believed in the everyman characters who became heroes through their grand, selfless acts. I believed with my whole heart.

Today, I still believe in heroes. Yes, I am a romantic optimist. I believe in the classic hero, the kind that I write about in my action-suspense science fiction novels. But I also believe in ‘everyday’ heroes.

Definition of Hero

  1.  a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  2. an illustrious warrior
  3. a person admired for achievements and noble qualities 
  4. one who shows great courage
  5. the principal character in a literary or dramatic work —used specifically of a principal male character especially when contrasted with heroineMerriam-Webster Dictionary

The third definition is what’s important in this discussion. A person admired for achievements and noble qualities. There are lots of those heroes.

Classic Heroes

Our men and women on the battlefields are heroes, the ones whose acts we learn about and many we, the public, will never know. So too, men and women in the newspaper whose bold acts catch the public eye, like the cafeteria worker walking to work who stopped to pull a family to safety from their burning home, are heroes. These are heroes in the classic sense of the word: men and women who perform feats of great courage or nobility of purpose often at great risk to themselves. I do not want to denigrate these acts. These people are heroes. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their service, their selflessness.

But there are other heroes The heroes whose acts of great courage and nobility of purpose are not bold and do not require public acts of strength or self-sacrifice. These are the heroes who typically do not even think of themselves as heroes, but they are. They are people we can look up to and hope to emulate.

’Everyday’ Heroes

As a pediatric nurse, I see ‘everyday’ heroes and heroines on a daily basis. They are family members, parents, foster parents, and patients who face what seem to be insurmountable odds. They have suffered personal tragedies, traumas, or setbacks. I look at their lives from the outside and think it must take a tremendous amount of courage in order to get through their day.

I am certain there are days when they feel beat down as if they can’t take another step. Yet, they move forward with a smile, with profound love and kindness. They go to work every single day, help their family, do the things that need to be done. It wasn’t how they envisioned their life. They adapt, modify, incorporate the things they must do into their everyday life. Many of them don’t just follow the path they were given. They manage to step outside the box and follow their dream.

How do they do that?

I think the ones that manage to do this are a little like bulldogs themselves. They have a tenacious belief in their goal. It is that belief that keeps them moving forward, a belief that sometimes is so ingrained in who they are that they don’t even know they are doing something ‘against all odds.’

Sometimes, life beats you down. Maybe medical issues, economic issues, security, or any of the thousands of other possibilities have overcome you. Next time you think you’ve lost that optimism, that belief in your own courage, that belief in yourself. Remember heroes do exist, in stories and in real life. Remember that you may be someone’s hero without even knowing it. And remember to believe . . .

Believe in your dreams.
Believe in today.
Believe that you are loved.
Believe that you make a difference.
Believe we can build a better world.
Believe when others might not.
Believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Believe that you might be that light for someone else.
Believe that the best is yet to be.
Believe in each other.
Believe in yourself

Kobi Yamada

Perhaps you need a little mood music to believe. Try reading and listening to “Celebrating Daydreams and Heroes.”

I believe in heroes. I believe you are a hero. Do you? Who are some of your heroes?

What False Comfort Zone Are You In?

“Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone” is a post by Tiva Jones. Tiva owns Creativity Loft, a public relations company that specializes in pr, branding, and marketing for authors, magazines & publishers. (Tiva has closed Creativity Loft and now runs HeyAwesomeGirl.com) Before you start saying ‘old news, I don’t care,’ you might want to think about how a false comfort zone may be holding you back.

Image is of a dog in the covers, all you can see is one eye and an ear, he's in his comfort zone, what false comfort zone are you in?

The biggest safe zone of all . . .

There are all kinds of comfort zones: a neighborhood, a job, a preferred route to drive or walk, a certain group of friends, there is plenty of time to (fill-in-the-blank). Perhaps the biggest comfort zone of all is “Someday.” Lots of people use “someday” as a safe zone. Someday I’ll write a book. Someday I’ll move to Italy. Someday I’ll forgive xxx for what he/she did.

Even us ‘creative’ types have comfort zones: I’ll query an agent someday, I’ll submit my story someday when I learn how to do this one thing . . . .   Yet, someday never seems to come.

Facing Barriers of Your False Comfort Zone

A couple of years ago, I participated in a couple of online writing course: How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) and How to Think Sideways (HTTS) by Holly Lisle.* In the HTTS course, Holly refers to something she calls Thinking Barriers: Safe, Perfect, Victim, and Feel. I won’t go into detail about these, but learning how to break these thinking barriers is instrumental to Holly’s course. I thought I learned those lessons, perfectly. NOT.

We use barriers, like Holly’s thinking barriers, to protect us from things we fear. Facing the fear is absolutely essential to finding a way past those barriers. Some fears are important to respect in order to maintain physical and emotional safety. Some fears are really big and they cannot be faced head-on in one step. Look at the fear, the barrier, you’ve constructed. If that fear keeps you from moving forward, from achieving what you want to do, you need to face that fear. There are small steps you can take. Maybe the first step is to read a how-to book. It could be for you to respond to one post. Or perhaps it’s to go to a party and say hi to one new person. If you really want to move forward, I’m certain you will find a way to take that first small step. (If you want to read more about how to move from fear to your dream, read Make Room for Fear and Your Dreams.)

Build on small steps

Between the Holly Lisle Novel Writing School courses and Tiva’s post, I realized I am in the false comfort zone, Perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. Perfect never finishes. If I wait and I work hard to be PERFECT, I won’t meet you, I will never have a blog, I won’t finish this web site, I won’t finish my book, etc., etc. So — I’m stepping out of my comfort zone.

I read up on how to put together a website. How to publish a blog. And now it’s time. The small steps have led me here. I am putting up this website and blog. I’m posting this, relatively unpolished post (Give me a break! A girl can’t change in the course of 700 words). Soon, I will have novellas and novels for sale on this website. Small steps that will take me to my goal: published stories that are read by people like you.

You know what? Tiva is right. There is power in facing your fears. And there is power in taking small steps. Live outside of your comfort zone.

Explore.

Dream.

Discover.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Holly Lisle’s HTTS and HTRYN courses. If you use the buttons on my website, I will get a small cash payment. You do not have to use those buttons. The link in my blogroll to the right will take you directly to the courses listing on her website. Regardless of how you get there, go to Holly’s site. She has many helpful articles and blog posts.

Will you face disappointments in twenty years? Is there a false comfort zone that keeps you from achieving your dreams? What small steps can you take to move out of your false comfort zone, toward your dreams?