Friday, April 27, 2018

Dear Luka

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Bras & Boots, Most Recent Posts

This letter is written to my son, Luka. I published a book and the cover has a photograph of a solider who lost his life fighting in Iraq. This is my explanation to Luka about who this man was and what the military is.

Dear Luka,

I love that every time I get on Facebook or my blog and you see a picture of my book, you say, “Mommy that is your book!! Your book is on the computer!” I grin at this because I have always had the dream of writing the book and publishing it but I had never dreamed the way it would be a part of your life. That is important to me.

I had a woman at the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA approach me after my reading and say, what a blessing this book will be for your children, someday. I told her I already had 2 boys. This is when it dawned on me that in some way, you will be affected by what I am doing now. My actions will encourage you to pursue many things that I can’t even conceptualize.

Yesterday, as we were riding to school, you were talking about my reading in Charlottesville. You made the connection that I read my book in Charlottesville. As any good 4 year old, the questions continued, “Mommy, who was the man on the cover of your book “and “was he pretend”. I told you he wasn’t pretend. That perplexed you.

I have been talking to you a lot about military lately. I am trying to explain what our Country is, that mommy and daddy fought in the military. I am trying to articulate who the bad guys and good guys are. The explanations always fall short. I feel like at this point, I don’t know how to teach this and I realized I feel this way for many reasons.

When you ask you say, “who are the bad guys and the good guys?” There doesn’t seem to be a division anymore. Then you pummel me with, “What is war and why are we fighting it?” “What is the Military and why do we have it?” “Why is Uncle Jonathan fighting the bad guys and why are ships called war ships?” The questions you ask are legitimate; somewhere, I fall short of giving you any clarifying answers.

Yet, the hardest question has been, “Is the young boy on the cover of your book pretend?” No. The next question, “Why not and who is he?” I fall silent, again and again. This young man died fighting to defend our country from the bad guys. That is the simple answer but it takes your innocence. Not that you would comprehend it but maybe you would and maybe it would shatter your innocence and I don’t think I can handle that-not yet!

The complicated answer is that this young man lost his life fighting a war on terrorism. He is a hero, a warrior. His mother is very sad. I have spoken with her and she has written beautiful words honoring him. His best friend captured this photo and made it one of my favorite pieces of art but it represents the loss of a best friend. This young man died before he was 25 and he has a child your age.

I really can’t describe the war we are in. Terrorism. That is what they say. However, I think when you are looking back, history is going to have a much deeper explanation of what is happening.

So, the complicated answer takes away your innocence but it also breaks my heart. We as a Nation are failing you and that devastates me. That is why I can’t describe the Military and serving our Country. That is why I can’t tell you what our Country means and the great things it is to so many people because I am heartbroken.

Luka, mommy wrote her book to make a difference. She wrote her book to pay it forward and to recognize the great honor it is to be a warrior for our Nation. Mommy wrote her book to give back to a charity that is trying hard to help veterans meet their mental health needs. Mommy wrote her book because her passion is in some way saving the world.

And now, mommy realizes the scope of her actions and how they will help you become brave. It will be common to you to think that mommy’s write books and fight for their Country. It will be common to you to reach out and help others. It will be common to you to be patriotic.

Mommy knows that her success doesn’t dictate yours. I know you can go and do whatever you want. However, I do believe if mommy and daddy live their dreams and tell you you can live yours; you will have opportunities that many people never get. I love you. Your father loves you and I pray many blessings over you and the world you will touch.

I have always known you will be a leader. You are a powerful, charismatic little man. My truest hopes are that you find this leadership and you use it to guide people to a higher purpose and that you always remain compassionate to others.

I love you! I hope I answered some of your questions.

~Charlie Palumbo

(Charlie’s book, “The Face of a Memory,” is available through her website Raising Awareness Through Art)


One Response to “Dear Luka”
  1. Hi,

    Great Posting.

    Thanks awveterans

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