“Proud to Be”: Moving Collection of War Stories

“We had to wait for all the teams to finish before we began the ceremony, several teams got lost, and some teams actually quit—I was shocked by how small the formation for the ceremony was in comparison to the formation at the starting point the day before. I was ecstatic because I am pretty sure I was delirious during the obstacles and during the hike across the desert. I looked around the ranks and I couldn’t find any other females. I was the only woman to complete the spur ride.” — Starlyn Lara

Following 11 years of military service that saw two deployments to Iraq, Army veteran Starlyn Lara has found a new frontier to bring meaning to war’s aftermath—writing about it. Her recent essay, “Order of the Spur,” is now featured in a new collection of war stories titled, “Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, vol. 3.”

“I am honored to be included in this volume created to preserve and share military experiences from service members, veterans and their families’ perspectives,” said Lara, who now works as Women Veterans Program Manager for Swords to Plowshares and was named the 2014 California Woman Veteran Leader of the Year.

The 68 essays, poems, photographs, and short stories throughout the book span multiple conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War, and conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. In presenting a glimpse to the harsh realities of combat, the anthology depicts war through the eyes of those with firsthand knowledge. The results? Gritty, personal, and deeply emotional.

Starlyn Lara, Women Veterans Program Manager, recalls her military experiences

Above all, Lara says, the accounts demonstrate that its writers are proud to be American warriors—and proud to call fellow warriors their family​.

“I am particularly inspired by the pieces written by my peers, veterans and those still on active duty, but all the contributions in this book touch on raw accounts of life, war, warriors, and more. They deserve to be read, and their voices deserve to be heard.”

“Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, vol. 3” is published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in collaboration with the Missouri Humanities Council and Warriors Arts Alliance. You can order a copy here.

And if you’re a writer interested in publishing your work as part of the forthcoming vol. 4 of the “Proud to be: Writing by American Warriors” series, submission guidelines may be found on their website. The deadline is June 1st 2015. All military personnel, veterans, and their families are welcome to submit their work.