Are you bored with roller coasters, pendulum rides and drop rides? Are their height and speed no longer thrilling? Are you becoming bored with amusement parks?
Maybe, just maybe you're ready for a ride on the Carousel...a new short story.
Many people in the United States are unhappy with its national anthem. Some complain that it's too war-like and mean. Others find it hard to sing. However, I believe that it has a redeeming value in the question that it asks: “Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” I ask myself the same thing almost every morning now almost two hundred years after Francis Scott Key penned that question.
Key was a captive of the British while their fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor all day and night, until 3 am on the morning of September 14th. He wondered why the shelling had stopped. Had the fort fallen? That would seem the most likely outcome. The British had besieged the defenders since September 12th during which time not a shot had reached the British ships from the fort's guns. Thus, Key stood (popular myth has him standing atop the bulwarks, clinging to the ship's standing rigging to steady himself) as he strained to see which flag flew above the walls: The American stars and stripes or the British Union Jack. Alas, not a breath of air stirred and the flag hung limply from its standard, its nationality indistinguishable.
Why didn't Key ask one of his captors? Most likely, they couldn't have answered him. They were awaiting word from Robert Ross, the British general who led the troops that had disembarked at Sparrows Point, at the confluence of the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay, and were supposed to capture Baltimore. Ross's force had already captured and burned Washington. Surely they could brush aside the Maryland militia and recreate their victory in Baltimore. When Ross's courier arrived, they were stunned to learn that he was dead and that his forces had been defeated by Sam Smith.
Writers are readers, avid readers. Like you, we're always on the lookout for a good book. Come join us on a blog hop as we visit some of our favorite authors.
What's a “blog hop”? It's a trail of links from one author's website/weblog to another. This trail leads to articles about the characters populating books in progress, soon to be published, or recently released novels. Now meet mine: Nick Andrews, an American who joined the Army just in time for the Korean War.
Studies have shown that as many as 20 to 30 percent of soldiers never fire their weapons in combat. No, I'm not including those in the rear echelons. I'm talking about combat troops, under fire. In some skirmishes, it has been reported that fewer than a third fired their weapons. Unfortunately, the research does not include the reasons why they didn't return fire. Some may have been too frightened to emerge from their foxholes and fight back. Still others may have been unable to find a target. The ones I'm interested in are those who simply couldn't overcome the natural reticence to kill another human being, even one who is attempting to kill them.
I created a story set in Korea during the war there to explore this issue. I created a character, Nick Andrews, an ordinary person with whom readers can identify. He's been well-trained to fight as an Army Ranger, but never taught to kill. That's a skill that can only be learned on the battlefield.
Blogs written at Oh-Dark-Thirty
...or whenever the spirit moves me. Enjoy.
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