Friday, March 15, 2013

What Has Your Journal/Diary Been Through?

Tim McGaughlin's Diary
     Foreign Policy Magazine has published a fantastic article (with pictures) about then - 1st Lt Tim McGaughlin and the diary he began during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The pictures of the diary really add a lot to the piece. For you military types, you'll recognize it as one of the small government issue notebooks that you'll find in a supply room at any command. The small book ceartinly looks like it faced the war as well.

   From Foreign Policy Magazine: "On Feb. 21, 2003, 1st Lt. Tim McLaughlin, a 25-year-old Marine platoon commander deployed to the Kuwaiti desert, wrote his initial entry in what would become a remarkable diary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq that spring. "The best writing advice I have been given is just to write," he began. "There will be plenty of time to edit and stylize it later."  

     How true.  I tried but failed to get words on paper during my last deployment. My single success, however significant, was to write my wife every evening. Even if it was only a few sentences.  

   One of the entries made me laugh outloud, and its something only a deployed service member would relate to.  In one of his entries he wrote a letter to Victoria's Secret thanking them for creating such a beautiful magazine, and telling them it was the only beautiful thing that he had seen while sitting in the desert for days and days.  Even on a Navy ship, today, during deployment, the arrival of a Victoria's Secret magazine is exciting for the women and the men.  

    If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to click through the slide-show. There is also a short article posted here, at the NY Times blog "At War".

Follow Up: I just finished his entries about 9/11.  He was working at the Pentagon that fateful day.  From the NY Times: [he recounts] "his effort to get through its smoke-filled corridors to find his brother, who also worked there, and the flashing emergency lights and emergency warning to evacuate the premises immediately." Wow.  Powerful stuff.  Read it.

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