Welcome to Line of Advance

by Matt Marcus

by Matt Marcus

Once a year I go through the exercise of cleaning my closet.  Some clothes go to the cleaners, some go to the donation box and a few get tossed in the trash.  During this ritual is one of the few times that I remember that sitting well behind the work suits and the jeans hangs a pristine Army class A uniform.  I pause for a moment.  I reflect.  But for some reason I never touch it or, god forbid, move it someplace else.  In some ways I think I’m afraid of that uniform.  It represents a past I’ll never return to and someone I’ll never be again.  But it is also a vessel for my stories, and something like 1% of Americans have a closet that looks very similar to mine. Continue reading

Review: The Welcome

by Jack Erwin

by Jack Erwin

The Welcome is a film about veterans coming home and asking “now what?” It’s a film about the healing that needs to take place. I lived it, and watched it.  I’ve been living it for the past four years, but I watched it, quite appropriately I might add, on Veteran’s Day 2013 at the College of DuPage.  The event was sponsored by Operation Support Our Troops America who with thanks to Deb Rickert and others will be hosting events there quarterly.  She gets it.  She has two sons in the military, both deployed. The large conference room was sparsely populated by the “less than one percent club”- those of us who serve or who have served in the military, our loved ones, people who get it- people who really do care.  That’s OK, because when you reach out to others, you can only help one person at a time. That’s all it takes.  It’s the part of the “Welcome Home” that’s been missing. Continue reading

Why We Write

by Chris Lyke

by Chris Lyke

It took two years to sit down with Matt and figure out why neither of us was writing anything. Afghanistan was still looming, gumming the spigot. I spent my twenties writing stories, playing music, and putting out records. And then the war came and most of my thirties were gobbled up in different places around the world. After getting home I couldn’t figure out how to start writing about any of it. There was the drinking, and the disconnection, the banality of the day job, and adult life. It’s enough to make a body listless, and then untethered. Last spring Matt and I started talking about all of this, about getting something going, getting things on paper, getting them said out loud.  Continue reading

LZ Lambeau: The Return of the Wounded Warriors

by Joe Gasperetti

by Joe Gasperetti

The belated welcome home call went out.  It was late, far too late.  In fact, it was a tardy invitation that took forty years to get to the invitees, the so-called child killers, the drug abusers, the untouchables, the despised, and the unworthy. Why should a homecoming be in order for this collection of apparent outcasts and misfits? Just maybe a country has finally come to grips with its unfinished business to salve its conscience for wrongly branding and shunning the return of nearly a generation of its youth it sent to South East Asia four decades ago.  Never before in American history has a returning fighting force been so stigmatized. Truthfully, this mournful group has been mischaracterized and misrepresented. The time had come to properly classify them as the forgotten, the unwanted, the forlorn, and the injured—in body and spirit. At least one place in America, the great state of Wisconsin, was through with the hand wringing and tried to atone for its neglect by opening its arms to finally embrace its wounded warriors—those who served in the Vietnam War. Continue reading

The Story City

by Erin Diamond

by Erin Diamond

In my family, a good story is king.  When I was a kid, my father used to sit on our front porch with men from our neighborhood, smoke cigars, and tell stories.  Recently, I asked one our our neighbors about those nights.  “Man, we loved hearing your dad’s stories about the army” he said.  “ About when he was in ranger school, and when he was stationed in Germany.  He’s got so many great stories!”  He’s right.  My father’s stories were filled with colorful characters.  When he was in college at Norwich University, he had friends with names like “Panther Piss”.  He was stationed in Germany for years.  He had a German girlfriend named Renata.  He went to something called The Officer’s Club. Continue reading

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