What started in June of 2005 during the Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home became a finished book in time for us to have it for Veterans Week in Branson, MO in November of that same year. From June to November is not a lot of time to put the polish on a manuscript, edit, get the book cover art work done and approved and all the other things that go into a finished book. We were worried that we would not have our books in time for Veterans Week in Branson....BUT our first order arrived JUST IN TIME! What a thrill it was to open that first box and see the finished product! We loaded several boxes in the car and we were off.
For those of you who have never been to Branson for Veterans Week...you should go. The people of Branson love and appreciate veterans and go all out to let them know! The town does this all through the year...BUT even more so during this special week of events. They honor ALL veterans from ALL eras. It is a place for veterans to get together with others who have shared their same experiences.
Our publishers had a booth in the vendors area...giving us a great place to meet and talk with many of the veterans attending the week long events. Eddie truly enjoys being out among other veterans. That is his time to "howdy and shake", his way of saying "meeting and greeting ."
We were amazed at the number of books that we sold in that week. So many of those who attend want to read the stories of other veterans. The booth was also a place where we could encourage other veterans tell their stories. We enjoyed meeting so many including a China Marine from the St Louis area. What a wealth of history was gathered there that week AND continues to gather there every year during this week.
What amazed us most of all were those veterans who purchased the book early in the week and came by to tell us they had finished reading it...couldn't put it down once they had started reading. What author wouldn't love to hear comments like that? But more importantly, many told Eddie that it helped them to read his story...this was the beginning of our journey learning that his story helped others...to heal, to be encouraged, to have hope, to feel better about themselves. We had never even dreamed this would be the result of his publishing his story. AND much more was to come....2006 would be a whirlwind of travel and events!
I will start detailing those events of 2006 next week and I hope it will be easier than it has been tonight. I almost decided to wait a day or two but will try to stick to writing each Monday. It isn't easy to concentrate when you have very sad and uspet grandchildren...you see their pet dachsund of many, many years, Buster, was hit by a car this afternoon and he didn't make it.