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.”

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

One of the most frequent questions asked of writers is: Where do you get your ideas? Often writers respond with sarcasm like ‘I pick them up at the store’ or ‘I steal them from other writers.’ I don’t think that is fair.

A writer may have heard the question a million-and-one times, but I have learned that people who don’t write, are truly curious and sometimes in awe of how writers get ideas for novels. No matter who asks the questions, nor why, it deserves an answer.

The answer is:

Where do I get my ideas? Nowhere. Everywhere. No, I’m not trying to be evasive. It’s true. It’s a way of thinking, a way of seeing the world. You may not be a writer, but I’m guessing there is something that you do that is equally awesome.

Examples:

As a child, my son’s curiosity as to how things worked drove me wild. If a toy could be taken apart, he found a way to do it, down to the last teensy-tiny screw. I would try to reconstruct the toy, but alas, that is NOT my talent. By the time my son was six or seven years old, he put the toy back together himself, in better working order than ever. Soon he began creating something new and different with the parts. He still has that ability today.

I have a friend who can take a basic recipe and add a dash of this and a dab of that. She is able to do this because of the way her brain works and because she has practiced an awareness of foods and what cooking methods produce what results. Her end result will always be something unique and tasty. And no matter how many cooking shows I watch, nor how carefully follow a recipe, my results are not as good.

My husband is an artist. He sees things in an entirely different way than I do. He sees line, color, composition, and things I don’t see or understand. Presto-chango: he creates a drawing. Ok. It’s not really magic. He has studied and practiced drawing. He expresses his way of thinking in a picture.

A new story idea?

Anytime I hear a song, a phrase, read an article or observe something interesting my brain automatically tries to make it a story. It takes a bit of this, a bit of that and knits it together in a way that makes me curious, makes me want to explore the idea and characters in words. It typically invents the feeling of the story first, the emotional pull or ending. The layers of character, plot, and setting are discovered as I explore the feeling.

Telling you about those three people above, I’m struck by a feeling that there is a story there: they are a family, each interpreting an important event so differently that they are driven apart. The struggle to understand each other’s point of view might drive such a story.

At this point, the idea is derivative. But working that idea around for a while, I am bound to come up with better conflicts, motivations and character arcs. You see, I’ve studied story structure, how other writers write, and I’ve practiced writing. Thus, when the initial idea or feeling of a story occurs to me, I will massage it, twist it, and test it until it is something I can’t wait to write.

If you’d like to see how a bit of research can become part of a story, take a look at my post, “My Story Went to the Dogs or Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption or Inspiration from Real-life Heart-wrenching History.

Talent

I believe that everyone has a talent: an interpretation of things observed, read, or felt. Some people have ignored or hidden their talent, some dismiss their talent as useless, others use their talent and creativity. I’ve discovered my talent: writing stories. What about you? Where do you get your ideas?