A three part testimonial…a letter…a poem…and a story.

Through email, our website, our Facebook Page, our Twitter account and our blog, we’re continually amazed and delighted by the positive feedback and supportive comments we receive from the real critics. We recently received a note from Martha Blakeman, a military mom. She’s given us permission to post the note she sent, as well as the poem and story she wrote. All three are inspiring and heartfelt. Thank you Martha!


Thank you for your response to my postand for giving me this address.
I’ve attached a poem and a story (perhaps to be considered a review also) that were inspired by your film.  The words to the poem came from watching SSgt Ed Allier, via his comments and attempt to check his emotions when talking about the children.
The story/review was definitely triggered by the “grace on earth” comment in the extra clips.
My daughter is the State Casulty Operations Manager for the Illinois Army National Guard.  Her husband is the 1st Sgt. for the 232nd Corps Support Batallion and has served one tour in Iraq.  He’s an instructor in terrorism and force protection.  They’ve not seen the movie yet, but will very soon.
I am so thankful, and in awe of what you have done with this film, and am equally thankful that your brothers made it home safely.  And you also, of course.
Take care.
Martha Blakeman

The Soldier’s Keep

I feel your strength surround me

As you keep the wolves at bay

Ever vigilant you guard

Me as I sleep

My trust I’ve placed upon you

As so diligent you wait

Watching lest the evil

Chance your keep

A soldier at the ready

Life is etched upon your brow

If but a moment I could ease

The weight you’ve borne

Surrounding you with warmth

Holding tightly to your hand

That you should know

There is a place you may call home

Martha Blakeman

March 1, 2010


Grace on Earth

Evil is a strong word, the connotations obvious.  It doesn’t affect me directly on a daily basis as I traipse through life. Undoubtedly it lurks amid the shadows if I were to peer in.  But those who willingly stand strong before its wrath are heroes.  If push came to shove, though not apparent hero material, I like to believe I would stand with them.

A recent film by Jake Rademacher titled “Brothers at War” chronicles such by our troops in Iraq.  In case you are unfamiliar with the film consider this your official introduction.  Though Jake’s intent was a firsthand account of why two of his younger brothers chose the path to serve, the film encompasses far more.

Last night I watched “Brothers at War” for the second time. As with the first viewing I was humbled, and I cried.  My tears flowed for reasons I can’t necessarily articulate, though I emerged with one certainty – I wanted to soothe the harrowed brows of these warriors.

I said the film covered far more than the trials faced by a single family and so it does.

During Jake’s second trip to Iraq he encountered a Staff Sgt. who proved himself an extraordinary soldier and man.  He swore, raved, cajoled and tormented.  He also tried valiantly to check his tears as he spoke of the sometime unavoidable danger to innocent children.

Jake defined this emotion during an extra piece included on the DVD.  He spoke of how he had truly seen evil.  Yet, he also witnessed grace on earth in the poignant comfort an American commanding an Iraqi unit showed a soldier badly injured on patrol.  Personally, I will never forget the image as he caressed the young man’s face with the back of his gloved hand.  It was such a contrast to the evil that had rained upon them.

These, as with others in the film, were profound moments which shall stay imbedded in my soul forever. And thus I consider Jake’s statement of having witnessed “grace on earth”.

I call myself a Christian though I would be at a loss to truly define that status.  If someone doesn’t believe in a higher power I’m not offended.  They won’t burn in some semblance of hell because their lives follow a different path.  I’m not so arrogant as to believe I’m right and they’re wrong, unless they choose to inflict pain and suffering based upon on their beliefs.  Then I have a supreme issue.

I’ve made a conscious choice to have faith in a higher power even if it emanates from within.  It gives me strength and hope.  That works for me.

Whether Jake’s statement was made with religious intent I don’t know, nor do I care.  That’s not the issue.  He speaks of a condition, a sentiment, an action shown too little by humanity.

For myself, if but once in this life, I hope for such a statement bestowed upon me.  That I, as the soldiers I have witnessed, follow a path filled with kindness, honor, mercy, and thanks – that I be capable of grace on earth.

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