Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!

About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Friday, May 23, 2014

Putting the memorial back into Memorial Day

It was late afternoon in mid-February when my younger son Benjamin and I visited the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France. The sky was filled with bruised clouds that threatened rain, but there was enough sunshine to keep the air warm.

We climbed the steps that lead to the cemetery and stopped. Stretched out before us were 14,000 white marble tombstones aligned in perfect and silent rows, each one of them representing an American soldier who had lost his life in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in World War I.

Fought over a period of 47 days from Sept. 26, 1918, until the Armistice on Nov. 11, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the biggest battle in U.S. history — and the bloodiest. The United States committed 1.2 million soldiers to the battle, 26,000 were killed. And yet most Americans know nothing about it.

Ask the average American to name the biggest U.S. war cemetery in Europe, and undoubtedly someone will point to the cemetery at Normandy. They’d be wrong. That distinction goes to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Sadly, the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery is almost forgotten, receiving few American visitors. Sadder still, no standing American president has ever visited the cemetery.

Benjamin and I walked slowly row by row among the crosses and stars of David, reading off the names of the slain and the states they’d come from. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois. There was one from Colorado. I found myself with a lump in my throat, wanting to touch each headstone, to let them know that their sacrifice wasn’t forgotten, that someone from the United States was paying them a visit.

These men died amid shouts, the deafening blast of artillery barrages, the staccato buzz of weapons fire, and the cries of dying men. But now they were surrounded by a deep silence, a stillness. And yet despite the peace that prevailed there, I couldn’t help but wonder whether they would rather have come home for burial in the U.S., where their families might have been able to visit them.

Remember that during World War I, a trip to Europe wasn’t something most families could afford. It was a 12-day-plus journey by boat just to cross the water. If you lived in North Dakota, you had to get to New York first. Most of these men have probably never had kin stand at their grave sides, their mourning parents, wives, brothers, sisters, and children left with only memories and personal belongings.

Many never knew where their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers were laid to rest because their remains were never identified. Among those with names were more than 4,000 that did not have a name inscribed. They read, “Here rests in honored glory AN AMERICAN SOLDIER known only to God.”

As we passed one after another after another of these stones, the lump in my throat turned to tears. No, I didn’t know any of these men. None of them are related to me — except that they were all Americans, men who went to war and died far, far from home.

Memorial Day in the United States has become a day to shop till you drop and then hang out with the family next to the barbecue grill or at the beach. That’s not what it was intended to be. It was set aside to honor Americans who died fighting for their country, and it ought to be a day of remembrance.

In Australia, ANZAC Day, their version of Memorial Day, starts with sunrise ceremonies honoring those who died for their country. The ceremonies are so moving that you don’t have to be Australian or a New Zealander to be moved to tears. I wish Americans would observe Memorial Day with a similar reverence.

I also hope with all my heart that an American president will one day travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and pay his (or maybe her?) respects to these forgotten soldiers, whose sacrifice helped end what was arguably the most brutal military conflict in human history.

Benjamin and I visited the memorial and the chapel, both of us silent, caught up in our own thoughts. We signed the visitor log. We read the more than 4,000 names of the American soldiers whose final resting place is still unknown that are inscribed on the memorial’s walls. We read about the battle itself and how it helped bring the war to a close.

As we were leaving, a school bus arrived, and a group of French pre-teens climbed out. They ran through the rows of headstones, called to one another, shouting and laughing. One pretended to be an airplane, making propeller noises with his lips, his arms stretched out at his sides as he ran. I wanted to call to them to stop running and to show more respect for these men, who had been killed in a war that was not of their making. But seeing those kids having a good time during a history field trip made me remember why our soldiers had given their lives in the first place — so that France could be free.

May all our military men and women killed in the service of their country, whether buried in foreign soil or buried here at home, rest in peace.

Photos (c) copyright 2014 by Pamela Clare 


Windsinger said...

Oh so touching, Pamela. The sacrifice of our warriors just FLOORS me. I'm a woman...I've never even had to consider such a path myself, but I did have a first love, a Vietnam vet, and I witnessed what that war did to his mind. About a year ago, I did a year-long sting volunteering at the VA hospital in West Haven, CT, and I would hang out for a few hours on Sunday with the older vets. It was such an eye opener. These strong brave men had given up their youth to serve our country, and yet so often, they are forgotten. Heartbreaking. Showing love and respect to our vets, living and those who have passed on, is something we all should do! Thank you, Pamela, for putting 'flesh' on the story of these unsung heroes! There's a song by Edwin McCain, "A Prayer for St. Peter" which is a poignant prayer song for the vets who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and how they are held secure in Heaven. It touches my heart... I know it will touch yours, too! - Siovhan

Beautiful post, Pamela. In Canada, Armistice Day (now called Remembrance Day) is a more solemn occasion, observed under November skies that are almost always gray. So much human potential lost - and yet, the courage and sacrifice of those young men - many really boys - is so inspiring. May we never forget.

Love prayers and positivity my beautiful friend.

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