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Dear Mr. Crane,

As a Civil War junkie, I thank you, Mr. Crane, for opening my eyes to what the everyday soldier went through and the fears they faced. I have read several books on the generals and decision makers of the Civil War. This is the first book that I have read from the standpoint of an everyday soldier.

At first when Henry was a coward, I felt for him. At some point, I may have to serve my country as Henry did. War is no game, and this book helped me see this. I believe during a war anyone, including myself, would feel sick and nauseous. Killing a person would not be easy for me; they would have families that care and deeply love them. When I think about what I would do in a war, I do not know if I would be able to face the bullets and missiles and may act cowardly. At the beginning of the war, Henry also acted cowardly.

Geoffrey Locher
   Geoffrey Locher accepting his Letters About Literature Award at the Children's Literature Matters Conference in State College

I think, as in the case of Henry, that I would be toughened after a bit of time in the war. The other side of Henry that appears in the later stages of the book, I believe, would also appear in me.

Henry loved his country, and I do too. Henry, leading his regiment in the charge against the enemy, became a hero instead of a coward. I believe that a person who has the right motives for being in a war will not act cowardly for an extended period. Fear must be overcome, and, as Henry did, one must be able to fight for their country regardless of the hardships. Henry loved his country and at the end of the story was willing to die for it. He overcame fear and was able to help his regiment and to some extent, his country.

This book was especially meaningful considering the current events. One does not know how long this present war may last. My generation may have to go to war. This book showed me a kind of courage that our countrymen will need as they fight this war. It is actually to an extent frightening, but as Henry did, we must be able to overcome this fear.

Thank you, Mr. Crane, your book was insightful and helped me understand better what the soldiers of the United States are going through. It showed me the horror of a war and taught me to appreciate more what the soldiers who fight to defend my freedom are doing. It has encouraged me to be brave and not cowardly during this war.


Geoffrey Locher accepting award

Geoffrey W. Locher




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