For the brave Men and Women in our Armed Forces

          I have to admit that I have a weakness in life for Nicholas Sparks’ books. They are beautiful, simple, they always reveal something about me that I didn’t know before, and they always make me cry, without a doubt. I always tear up with his stories and The Lucky One is another fine example of a story that overcomes all, where love is found and lost and found again but it touched upon a recent topic of recent historical events; the Iraq War.

         The story is about a young marine named Logan Thibault, while on tour in Iraq, and comes upon a picture of a young woman in the dirt with the description “Stay Safe, Love E” and upon finding this photo a lucky streak begins. It isn’t just with poker games and every day situations but the picture ultimately saves him from a number of deathly situations, where he comes out unharmed. Logan believing the woman in the photograph has saved his life, sets out on a journey to find her and determined to pay her back for saving his life. Logan ends his long journey in Hampton, North Carolina where he finds the mysterious woman in the photograph, a divorced mother of a 10-year-old named Elizabeth. Elizabeth is skeptical of Logan at first but their feelings continue to grow and they become more attached. A blossoming love affair comes into play with our two characters, but Logan is still haunted with the knowledge of her photo in his pocket and telling her the truth. Elizabeth has her own obstacles to face if she wants a future with Logan, she must overcome them. They must get over their fears they have, each having their own baggage, in hopes of having a bright, loving future together.

              The reason I pick up Sparks’ books is mainly dealing with his love stories. They are always complex, scary but pure at heart, which is what love is. Love is very complex, you wish it was simple but sometimes this is not always the case.  It causes you to change, to open yourself up to someone else and become vulnerable, which is never easy. His stories are simple, and complicated at the same time- boy and girl meet, they like each other, but due to life’s hardships and difficulties they are unable to make the first commitment, get over fears and struggles, and they find happiness. Of course, I did mention that I did cry in all of his books, mainly due to that they always have an incredibly sad bit on them, like a main character dies or a situation occurs that tugs are your heart-strings. His endings may not be happily ever after, but they are true to life. They deal with things we have all felt, done, and gone through at some point. He always makes me feel different after I have read one and I think every great book should make you feel different in some form or fashion.

               I picked up this book strictly based on the fact that it was a Nicholas Sparks’ book but I didn’t think about how close it would hit home for me. As the Iraq War is still in the process of ending, we need to think about all those people who were brave enough to go over there in a time of turmoil to fight for our country. I know someone who not only spent time in Iraq but was over there on multiple occasions, like Logan in the story, and as I read through the novel, all I could think about was him. The chapters where Sparks goes into the Iraq War, with full detail, are the moments when I held my breath. I only have a thought of what it would have been like being over there, but I will never know the true nature of it all, and I never will. From reading this book, Sparks has shed some light on the emotional, physical and mental struggles that the people needed to face on a daily basis when being over there and the aftermath of those struggles. I am thankful that my friend made it back in one piece, and I am sure we may never talk about his time over there but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate and care for him. To make such a sacrifice and to put your life on the line for your country makes you a great man and I know I am blessed to know you and have you in my life. You are the best of what men ought to be, and even thought you went thought something hard; you always have a smile on your face. Please keep that smile since it brings light into this dark world of ours. I am truly grateful and happy I was able to meet you, establish a friendship and know your extraordinary story.

               So to end this note… whether you know someone who did or did not fight in the Iraq War but it is a member of our Armed Forces, just remind them of how grateful you are and how amazing they are. Being a member of the Armed Forces is not for everyone; it takes courage, honor, strength, dedication and self-sacrifice to do what they do. They put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day, I know I am indebted to all of them for doing what they do and I am truly honored t know a few of them as friends and family. Those who are in the Armed Forces, thank you for your serving heart and strong, caring soul.  This blog post is dedicated to the people in the Armed Forces and to my friend; I hope I get to be half the person that you already are.

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