So you all know I read…a lot…and all of the books I read have a fictional hero who overcomes great odds and conquers impossible situations and by the end of the book has gone to hell and back but ultimately gets an ending that is well deserved. These are the stories that I like best.
Recently I came into contact with author Bryan Wood. Bryan introduced me to his book, Unspoken Abandonment, a memoir written about his experiences in war and his own “hell and back” story. Normally this isn’t anything I would be interested in, but there was something about this story that intrigued me and I figured I’d give it a shot. What I ended up finding was a true, real life hero story. I read this book in one sitting and was a different person by the time I had finished it. To say I was moved would be an understatement. This is a truly amazing, emotional, humbling and inspiring story and I have been recommending it since I finished reading it.
I was lucky enough to ask Bryan a few questions about his experiences and and in honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, and our real life heroes serving our country, here is his interview. I hope you will be willing to take the chance I did and read Unspoken Abandonment…I know you will not be disappointed. Thank you Bryan, for sharing your story with the world and for your years of service.
Ultimately, what made you want to join the Army?
I always knew I would join the Army, even as a little kid. Most little boys play G.I Joe when they’re little, but my friends and I took it to the extreme. We were only ten years old, but we assigned each other rank, we wore dog tags, and followed orders. We acted like we were really in the Army. So, for me, it was inevitable.
I will remember what you did for the kid with the hat forever. It was so touching and incredibly kind.…is there any positive memory that you have that you can share that you haven’t written in the book?
For every one positive memory that is written in my book, there are five that are never mentioned. My greatest memory, however, isn’t tied to one specific event; it’s a bundle of them. It’s the opportunity to live with, and get to know so many of the Afghan people. I think a lot of American’s have a skewed perception of the Afghan people, and they actually have a rich, beautiful culture, and they are an amazing people.
I was so glad you had found a kindred spirit in Kevin when you met….have you lost touch completely with him?
Unfortunately, yes. Life gets in the way sometimes, even when we know we shouldn’t let it, and it gets tough. We all know that we should do everything we can to bridge those geographic gaps in friendship, but it does get hard sometimes.
If your son or daughter decides he or she wants to join the Armed Forces, what do you think your reaction would be?
I have kind of a biased opinion on that subject. I think everyone should give something of themselves to a cause greater than themselves. It doesn’t necessarily need to be through the military, but in one form or another, we should all give to the greater good of our society. Some may disagree with this, but I believe that an effective military force is necessary to continue our way of life in America, and I would be proud to have a child make that type of commitment and sacrifice to their nation.
One thing you want people to take with them after reading this book:
I know this has become a cliché saying because of a series of commercials, but it really does get better. No matter what you’re going through in life, no matter what struggle you’re facing or have faced, it doesn’t need to stay that way. If you look, there are solutions, and if you find your own personal inner-strength, you can survive and conquer anything.
I actually had email contact with a woman who survived breast cancer, and she said she felt a lot of connections with my story. Our struggles were quite different, and the source of our pain was worlds apart; however, the raw emotion and after effects were identical. That blew me away!
And now, because I can’t be too serious for too long, I have to ask…what drink did you order at the bar you and Kevin went to?
I have no idea what it was called, but I do remember that it was light blue and had an LED flashing ice cube in it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a beer guy through and through, so that was a painful libation!
Oh, and do you still have any of the trinkets you bought on Chicken Street?
I do! I have a handmade brass tea set made from old bullet casings (I wouldn’t actually drink anything from it), a marble chess set, and a few other cool things that I’ll always treasure.