Some of the most inspiring and moving stories come from the greatest pain. All of us have seen and heard of the tremendous strength, power and dignity our wounded troops show in their recovery. Devastating injuries are overcome and done so with grace and strength that is humbling. One witness to this was Carolyn Surrick, a professional musician who spent her Fridays over several years playing beautiful and soothing music for our wounded warriors in the lobby of Mologne House at Walter Reed. Her group, Trio Galilei, would set up the chairs and sofas so that anyone passing through could sit and join them. It wasn't a concert performance, it was an invitation to set aside their pain and suffering and join them for music and talk and companionship. Quite a gift to give.
One of the troops they reached was my girlfriend LTC Samantha Nerove. She was in the PTSD program there and was still so deep in pain she rarely left her room. But slowly the music they played called to her. She became friends with Carolyn and spent many Fridays listening, enjoying and talking and it was a key factor in her own recovery. Trio Galilei also put out a CD called "Above and Beyond" inspired by the people they met, which they gave freely and generously.
Carolyn also listened to the stories of the wounded and their families. As Sam says "she carried us in her heart and now honors us with her book". It is called "between war and here" and it is a treasure. We had dinner at Carolyn's a few weeks back and took the book home. Sam was reading it and began reading passages out loud to me. Soon we had been through the whole thing and tears were streaming down both of our faces. There is plenty of pain in it, there has to be; It is also filled with transcendence and joy. It is a brilliant representation of the power of the warrior spirit.
Sam and Carolyn decided to put the words and music together and it was pure magic. I know, I was there. They were thinking about making an audio book or maybe doing a concert with Sam reading and the group playing, so they wanted to see how that would go. There was no rehearsal, they just sat down, picked a story and music to go with it, and this is what happened. You will simply fall into the beauty of it all and be enthralled. The plan is to put on a concert in DC and also to record an audio book and video for Christmas. You can read about the book at Carloyn's site here and if you are interested in the package, email me at jimbo at unclejimbo dot com and I will let you know when it is done. In the meantime enjoy this little slice of heaven. It is a fitting tribute to the troops who inspired it.