From The Beacon: Books honor veterans past and present

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent, marking an end to World War I. This became Armistice Day. In 1954, Congress passed a bill, which President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law, to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. This year, Veterans Day has special significance to me because my brother is serving in Afghanistan.

Beaufort County is home to many veterans and active duty service members. We are fortunate that the Beaufort County Public Library System has a great selection of materials to honor our veterans and mark the observance of the holiday. We offer books, audio books, movies and documentaries on DVD, and a database for learning about the sacrifices of veterans past and present. Here are some for you to consider:

The library has several books on the history and narratives of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island:

  • "Parris Island: Once a Recruit, Always a Marine" by Eugene Alvarez
  • "Parris Island (Postcard History Series)" by Karen Montano
  • "Rows of Corn: A True Account of a Parris Island Recruit" by Herb Moore
  • "The Few and the Proud: Marine Corps Drill Instructors in Their Own Words" by Larry Smith

These books offer biographical information on the recipients of this nation's highest military honor:

  • "The Medal of Honor: a Commemoration of South Carolina Recipients" edited by Capt. Caroline Watson (reference only)
  • "Medal of Honor: Profiles of America's Military Heroes from the Civil War to the Present" by Allen Mikaelian
  • "Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and the Six Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq" by Dwight Zimmerman and John Gresham

 Here are some epic accounts of combat during our nation's wars:

  • "Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam" by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
  • "<2009>'We were one': Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines who took Fallujah" by Patrick O'Donnell
  • "Iwo Jima: World War II Veterans Remember the Greatest Battle of the Pacific" by Larry Smith

The following books serve as stark reminders that "all gave some; some gave all":

  • "The Gift of Valor" by Michael Phillips 
  • "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell
  • "Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives" by Jim Sheeler
  • "Soldiers Once: My Brother and the Lost Dreams of America's Veterans" by Catherine Whitney
  • "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
  • "War" by Sebastian Junger

These are audio books on CD:

  • "The Father of All Things: a Marine, his Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam" by Tom Bissell
  • "Escape from the Deep" by Alex Kershaw
  • "The Day of Battle: the war in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944" by Rick Atkinson
  • "Brotherhood of Heroes: the Marines at Peleliu, 1944" by Bill Sloan

 Try a movie or documentary on DVD:

  • "Restrepo: One Platoon, One Valley, One Year," produced by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington (who was killed earlier this year in Libya) 
  • "For the Love of Liberty: The Story of American Black Patriots"
  • "Camp Leatherneck"
  • "Taking Chance"
  • "Miracle at St. Anna"
  • "Band of Brothers" (HBO miniseries)
  • "The Pacific" (HBO miniseries)


  • The Ancestry Library Edition is a database available in the library. Searching military records will give you access to a trove of documents, including World War I draft registration cards, 1917-18; World War II and Korean veterans interred overseas; official records of the Union and Confederate armies, 1861-1865; U.S. rosters of World War II dead, 1939-1946; Vietnam War awards and decorations of honor, 1965-1972; Korean War prisoners of war, 1950-1954; and more.
  • You also have access to "WWII United News Newsreels, 1942-1946." The database contains the 267 issues of "The United News," produced by the U.S. Office of War Information during World War II. Each newsreel lasts 10 minutes. For example, newsreels for the year 1942 will show films on "The British Pursuing Rommel in Libya," "Everybody Joins US War Effort," "Latest Pictures with American Troops in North Africa," etc.

Honoring our veterans is more than just a one-day annual opportunity; you can learn more about their contributions to our county and to our nation at your local branch library. The Beaufort County Library System offers a heartfelt thank you to all those who have served.