Barb and I traveled to New Orleans for the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Conference and Awards Ceremony held at the Higgins Hotel, which is the official hotel for the National WWII Museum. We knew that my WWII book, At First Light, was a finalist in the “Non-Fiction: Memoir and Biography” category, but what award would it actually get, if any?
A play-by-play of Phil’s training and combat exploits brings us to the front lines with its challenges, accomplishments, horror, death, and cold (literally) harsh realities of war.
Phil performed his mission of delivering ammunition to the troops through seemingly insurmountable obstacles, earning decoration after decoration, and probably more important to him, the respect of his troops.
They would have followed him to the ends of the earth, and they did just that, time after time.
As we see Phil lead his troops through Italy, France, and Germany, we get a history lesson and a reminder of true American heroes.
We get to know the characters, complete with photos, including the animals in Phil’s world. He trains mules to get supplies and equipment to the front lines. He was also highly skilled with horses, but his love for them is what gets him through hard times, even after the war.
The usually stark WW II story is humanized by this unequivocal expertise, and his romantic joys and heartbreaks.
Through years of research the author discovered that distinct part of life so many of our fathers and grandfathers couldn’t share.
Never before has a book moved me to tears, out of pride—for 2nd Lieutenant Phil Larimore’s legacy, and my own humble service in the U.S. Army.
This, of course, brought tears to my and Barb’s eyes!
Anyway, what award did At First Light receive? Drum roll, please!
Of the 80 books reviewed, At First Light was awarded the Silver Medal in the Memoir/Biography category. We were so delighted and wanted to share our joy with you all.
Also, why we were there, we found a paver honoring my father just outside the National WWII Museum. This was an exciting moment for us. It had been placed there by my three brothers and me just over 20 years ago.
Philip B. Larimore, Major, 3rd Inf Div WWII paver just outside of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
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