Blog Your Blessings: Lone Survivor

This summer I read a remarkable book about a young man who tests the limits of human endurance and then exceeds them--in the name of down-home decency that sometimes bears the names of loyalty, friendship, patriotism. It is the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor. Shortly after I read it, I wrote this:

I never have served in the military, but I sure do like the people I know who have. To a man, they are honest, direct, clear, courteous, true, and good. They are people of integrity who don't mess around and who genuinely honor life.

Lone Survivor is a book by a person who embodies integrity along with substantial doses of courage and strength and intelligence. Author Marcus Luttrell is the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, a military mission involving four U.S. Navy Seals tasked with finding, capturing, or killing a Taliban leader in the lunar terrain of Afghanistan.

Luttrell's book takes ample time to describe the intense, rigorous training of SEALs and to describe the operation itself. In a nutshell: you do what your told, you give it everything. No bullshit.

This resonated with me. It made me think of all those men I know who have served in the armed forces. They are not afraid of saying right is right and wrong is wrong and saying which is which lest anybody become confused. They are not men who ponder the nuances of grey.

Until they have to. Which is what happened to Luttrell more than once in the miserable, unyielding mountains of Afghanistan. Faced with grey, with choices that are not clear cut, Luttrell and his colleagues think through to the most logical choice. In seconds.

These guys face the complexity of all their interactions with others on the battlefield with the same concise, direct courage. Luttrell finds good guys amid the shale. Sweet kids. Honorable people who help him survive. He finds evildoers. And he's not afraid to tell you he hates them.

Reading this book, I realized that a good piece of what I admire about Luttrell and basically the men I know who have served is that they don't make excuses for evil. They get rid of it. That's exciting.

I have thought a lot about this book since I have read it. And I think that is what I like best because it gives me hope and teaches me courage.

Finally, I am grateful to Luttrell for making sense of what makes no sense to me when I read the paper. I am grateful for his honesty and his very clear vision.

His story taught me that for all I know, I don't know a lot. There's always more to learn. I suppose it's an attitude of humility. Lately as I have been trying to make sense of so many things going on in our country that I think have tested the limits of decency and compromised the quality of discourse on issues that affect all of us, I have thought how important it is to listen and learn, to honor the system that rare people like Marcus Luttrell fight with everything they have to defend. To pledge anew our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.


  1. Sandy: Thanks for sharing your views on the book.

  2. Thanks, Sandy, I'm really intrigued and would like to read Luttrell's book! I'm going to be flying to Texas on Monday and I think this would be a great book to take along.
    I feel exactly as you do about our country right now and it is discouraging -- even trying to made sense of it all.

    Enjoy your weekend!


  3. Luttrell's book is a powerful piece of writing and it truly strips away the BS that is too pervasive in today's society. Your observations and review of his book is spot on! Well done My Dear Friend!

  4. Lone Survivor is a wonderful book and I really appreciated your views on what the book meant to you. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. there is always good among the evil we see. it's easy to get overwhelmed by all that is wrong but there are still good honest courageous souls doing their jobs and helping others...

  6. Sandy, your thoughts about the book are really interesting.

  7. Amen! You said it all. There's no more to add.

  8. Anonymous12:35 AM

    i am very tempted to read it now..

    thanksfor your reccomendation...

  9. I will search out this book and read it. Your words are powerful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Luttrell is a definitely hero among many!

    Hugssss, Susan

  10. Takes one to know one, Sandy!
    Aloha-Comfort Spiral

  11. The book seems to be very interesting
    hopefully i could find one here in our country
    thanks for giving as the synopsis for this book
    have a great day ahead and happy blogging

  12. I guess you could say that true wisdom lies in realizing that we know very little.

  13. Thanks for the review of that book and for sharing the way it made your feel.
    There doesn't seem to be any sense at all to many things and putting on the News can be quite depressing, so anything that helps to make sense of that is a blessing indeed.

  14. this sounds like a very interesting book.
    My son just joined the Coast Guard and we are very proud of him.

  15. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Nice one..
    Thanks for recommending this book, Sandy!
    Should catch up with it soon..:)
    I guess our post has really instigated me to pick this one..
    Have a gr8 weekend...
    Thks for your comments on my blog dear..
    Take care and keep writing!

  16. I enjoyed reading this and it made me think.

    By the way, my sons went to that school when they were young and I taught a weekly creative writing class there for years.

  17. I too enjoyed Lone Survivor, but from a different vantage point. My husband is newly retired Navy. He is still working for the Navy in Homeland Defense and we have many friends who are still active......some of which have and are still are over there.

    Hope your weekend is beautiful

  18. I read the book some time ago and it blew me away. If it were a novel I wouldn't have believed it but I believe every word he wrote.

    Your testament to our men and women in uniform was great. The other people who sacrifice are their spouses and children at home.

  19. excellent resonation more to spread to

  20. Well said, Sandy! This is a book that I'd like to read. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. I can only say that I share your sentiments. The more I learn of our men and women in uniform, the more hope I have for the future of our country.


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