“We have an all-volunteer military, but we, the platoon of parents, wives, children and husbands of those who serve, are given only one choice: to love or not. Our job is to struggle with our fears in plain sight of the carefree lives we used to live, and in plain sight of our friends and leaders who have no direct involvement; no loved ones at risk… no skin in the game.”
In 1998, novelist Frank Schaeffer’s eighteen-year-old son, John, joined the Marines out of high school (inspiring their best-selling book, Keeping Faith, A Father-Son Story of Love and the United States Marine Corps). Then, on February 18, 2003--the first day of Gulf War II--Corporal John Schaeffer was deployed to the Middle East.
Frank Schaeffer’s powerful account of having a son in the war zone is punctuated by the voices heard via his correspondence with dozens of other home front families; from those hoping for loved ones to come home to those who know they never will.
Unforgettably moving, beautifully written and truly provocative, Faith of our Sons tells us the story of a war through the unseen lives of those among us waiting at home, praying for the safety of their husbands and wives, their sons and daughters
Diary of Deployment
February 17, 2003 [First Entry]
John called. He said he will be deployed! I'm elated for my boy because he sounds so happy. I'm elated in the same way one is 'elated' by looking over a cliff. Adrenaline and terror also surge.
We are about to go to war in Iraq and are already at war in Afghanistan. John could have sat out the action at a desk. I asked him if he volunteered for this mission.
'Yes, I did, but don't tell anyone.'
'You mean Mom?'
'Yes. She'll be really upset if she knows I volunteered.'”
So begins the next chapter in the story of Cpl John Schaeffer, as told by his father Frank Schaeffer.
In 1998, Frank and Genie Schaeffer’s eighteen-year-old son enlisted in the United States Marine Corps… and then told his parents. John and Frank Schaeffers’ ensuing experiences of learning how to be a U.S. Marine (and a Marine’s parent), and of reevaluating their understandings of the words service and duty, were recounted in Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps. Their very personal story struck such a fervent chord amongst the many Americans with a family member in the military, that it inspired personal communications from three American Presidents and propelled the authors onto Oprah, 20/20 and Nightline and their book onto the New York Times extended bestseller’s list
Then on February 18, 2003--the day Gulf War II began--John Schaeffer was deployed to the Middle East.
Faith of our Sons is Frank Schaeffer’s moving and timely account of what it’s like to send your child to war, and the powerful emotions attendant on that experience (from panic to pride to rage and back again). But as we read the homefront story of Frank and Genie Schaeffer, punctuated by the occasional treasured call or e-mailed poem from their son, we are also hearing the voices of many others in the same situation.
“Yesterday I spent another five or six hours responding to the e-mails. So far, I’ve gotten over two thousand messages… A few weeks ago, I complained to Genie, “How can I answer them all?” but now night after night—usually at two in the morning—I find myself back at my computer, reading and answering each message. I’m beginning to think that I need my new correspondents a lot more then they need me.”
Frank’s on-line relationship with dozens of other similarly proud and worried homefront families (who have contacted Frank and Genie since the publication of Keeping Faith), now becomes the Schaeffer’s lifeline, pulling them into to a courageous and generous community of largely ignored Americans from all races and backgrounds, while also making them look even harder at issues of class and duty, at which Americans currently pay the high cost of service, and why.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of three novels including the just published "Zermatt," "Saving Grandma", and the highly acclaimed best seller "Portofino." His novels have been translated into eight languages. Frank is also the co-author, with his son John Schaeffer, Cpl. USMC, "Keeping Faith--A Father-Son Story About Love And The United States Marine Corps." Frank has worked as a movie director and artist and lived in Switzerland, England, South Africa and the USA, where he resides in Boston and New York City.