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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Living a Dream

I just finished reading a book that currently holds my highest rank for the year, so far, Living a Dream by Suzanne Giesemann. The book details the first year of retirement for military retirees Ty and Suzanne Giesemann. The book opens in a very strange place for a book about sailing adventures: The Pentagon. Ty is a retired Navy ship driver, both as Captain and Destroyerman, who has had an impressive career of Naval exploits. They were working on the West coast when Ty’s job no longer held the challenge and stimulation that he needed, so he found a great job in Washington. Suzanne was a successful career Navy woman serving as a Fleet Support Officer. Through a little social networking she ended up working in Washington with her husband, and shortly thereafter the Pentagon as an aide-de-camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no small potatoes. The second chapter of her book details her experiences from 9/11. Being connected to one of the most powerful men in the country meant she saw things and did things that no other person would that day, she witnessed what will be written in history books firsthand, and recounts it with pathos and clarity. She, and those aboard the plane on which she was flying, were the only ones to see the devastation of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, from the air, in person, in the same day. Her recounting of that momentous day brought back a stream of memories that makes me hold my head in shame.

Everyone who is of age will recall exactly where they were when they first heard what had happened on 9/11, the feeling in their stomach when they first saw the video of the plane flying into that mighty tower. I remember the feelings I had, but I also remember how quickly those feelings passed. I was a naïve child, a sophomore in college, who did not think that the events of that fateful day would really affect me. Now that I am out in the ‘real world’ I can’t help but wish I had known better, that I had been more informed. This book brought that back to me and I am grateful for that reminder. Today, we are spared the images of that day, yet without constant reminders, our memories get pushed aside as complacency tries to wash out what should be vivid images of hate and destruction; images painted in vibrant black, white and red, in lackluster shades of gray.

But I digress. Their experiences that day led them to forsake the ‘normal’ life and pursue their dream, to sell off their possessions, buy a sail boat, and cruise into the sunset. Having read every page on their site I was concerned that this book would have little to offer. I stand corrected! They followed the same path as they describe on their site, yet in more depth and with more feeling. Suzanne’s style completely engrossed me with emotion and descriptions that did not overstay their welcome. I felt like I was with them aboard Liberty living the life. I shrugged off schoolwork in favor of reading this book, and I feel better for it. Who needs Hebrew when you have a story like theirs tempting you. I have not sped through a book or enjoyed one this much in years.

Now back to my studies!

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