Monday, May 5, 2008

Captain Craggen And Giving Back

img_1372aToday I shipped several boxes of Here You Are to the UK to go to Captain Craggen's School in Nepal. After serving in Iraq, he decided he wanted to give back and make a difference, so he started Shamrock School. The school has 41 children between 10 and 14, who are placed into this school because of high IQ and other test scores. Nepal has been ravaged by Civil War for the last decade and these children are given a unique chance to rise from the ashes by this wonderful Captain and his friends.

Here You Are will be used as a first English book, and I am hoping the children and I will start a conversation about art, writing, publishing, and even about their experiences as they take Here You Are to other children in their community to help with difficult times with a little Here You Are magic.

As far as "giving back" goes - it first struck me as amazing that a soldier would feel that way. I guess it is because to him the military is his profession, the way he feeds his family and the way he grows as a human being facing the challenges of his work. To me, though, these jobs, where one puts one's life on the line for other people, are already making a gigantic difference. It must be hard to feel like one is making a contribution when one has to go to a country and raise hell before that country can put itself back together again in a better version of itself - but a contribution it is.

The British Army and its allies did this for Germany. At my son's wedding two years ago a former US fighter pilot who had bombed Cologne during World War II, sat next to my mother who had been a little girl then. Every time, and mostly in the middle of the night, when his airplane and the whining of his bombs set off the warning sirens in Cologne, she had to rush into hiding down into the bomb shelter in her basement trembling for her life. Cologne was bombed to the ground. He hated his assignment, but he knew who he was fighting.

65 years later, my mother hugged him and thanked him with all her heart, for what he had done for Germany and the world. You should have seen the serene happiness on both of their faces. No use to all the ones who perished - true - but my mother's uncles and grandfathers who died during that war, would have rejoiced in this little dinner scene.

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