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Why A Memoir?

Writing a book, of any kind, was never anything I'd seriously considered. But, sometimes inspiration comes when, and from where, you least expect it.

In the Fall of 2019 a local high school invited me to be their guest speaker at their annual Veterans Day school assembly. I happily accepted the invitation.

The school’s Veterans Day theme that year was “A Legacy of Service.” So, I shared a story from my family’s history of military service. My great (x5) grandfather, Luke Guyant, had immigrated to the Colonies from England in the 1760s. He then fought in the Revolutionary War against the British Empire. The only information I have about Luke Guyant is from a written application for veterans benefits dated 1834 in which he gives a brief account of his service with the Continental Army. 

I've often wished Luke, and some of my other ancestors, had left more information about their lives, such as a journal, or letters written to/from loved ones, a memoir, or an autobiography. It probably never occurred to Luke that 250 years in the future there would be people interested in knowing more about him and hearing stories from his life.

Since retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2005, I occasionally thought about writing down some of my experiences and life lessons learned along the way. However, when I thought about the time and effort required to write (ugh!) and how few people would be interested, I would dismiss it as a foolish idea. After all, in the grand scheme of world events and history, I’m insignificant to all but a few family members and friends. It seemed a bit arrogant to think anyone, except for a handful of people, would care at all about my unique experiences, significant events, weighty choices, and life lessons learned. 

But then, in 2020, a little girl, my granddaughter, entered this world. I began to think maybe someday she might want to know more about her grandpa. And maybe, just maybe, her children and her grandchildren might someday might want to know more about their ancestors, just like I’ve wondered about mine from 250 years ago. So I wrote a Memoir containing a few events of significance in my life.

Ultimately, however, and much more significant is the fact that my story isn’t just about me. The Lord Jesus Christ has guided my life often in ways unseen and unknown to me at the time. God has allowed hardships, pain, and heartaches, but always as opportunities to learn, trust, and grow to become more like Christ.

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