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Why Does The Green Ember Series Resonate So Strongly With Military Families?

I got another email. Another letter. Another Facebook message. I heard it from another beautiful family who waited in line to get their books signed. I hear it all the time.

“We are a military family. We love your stories because…”

I’m from a military family. My dad (right) is a combat veteran, as was my grandfather (below). My mom (right) waited at home, pregnant with my oldest brother, while my dad was at war on the other side of the world. I grew up on stories of honorable service and among those who honorably served. I don’t always agree with United States policy (I doubt any of us do), but I have always had tremendous respect for, and profound gratitude toward, each and every man and woman who signs up to serve us in the military.

Maybe that shows in my stories. I didn’t write these adventures for that reason, but I’m delighted to hear from military families repeatedly that they feel respected when they read. But more than respect, what I hear again and again (from so many wives of men who serve) is that the stories help their kids understand what their dad does.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that. It always fills me with a gratitude and a wonderful humility. (It’s a feeling of being small, but having done something that mattered.)

This has been a gift to me. Because it means that I, in some small way, have been able to serve those who serve. I have had the privilege of serving their families, often while they are away and in harm’s way.

I know I just said I felt humble, but I also feel proud to see these stories find their way into the hearts and homes of the brave warriors whose vocation is to protect my family’s lives and freedom.

This is why I dedicated The Last Archer, with gratitude, to all veterans and their families.

A lovely military family sharing reading time with Daddy far away.

I write about heroes and heroines. These men and women (and their families) live it. God bless all who serve.

Almighty Father, we commit to thy loving care all those servicemen and servicewomen upon whose faithfulness the welfare of our Armed Forces depends. In the fulfillment of their duties give them patience, loyalty, and courage; and grant that those who are sustained by their toil may remember them with gratitude; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

~An Anglican prayer from the Armed Forces Prayer Book, 1951~

(L-R: My [Great]Uncle James, my Papaw, and [Great] Uncle Merrill)


  1. Dear Mr. S.D. Smith,

    My dad is in the Marine Corps and when I saw this post i was like, “Wow That is awesome!” because it is so true!! We have friends overseas that love them too, and a lot of other millatary families that we know really love these books! I think you have blessed many people with these stories!

  2. I totally relate! I come from a family with a history of military service, and I myself am a police officer, and so the themes of sacrifice, and honor and the very true sense of family amongst fellow warriors, runs deep. Thank you for honoring and a depth of understanding, that very clearly displays not only the difficulties of such a life, but the reasons for why, despite the difficulties, it is well worth it, and helps our children gain a deeper understanding, that goes beyond simple fear of the danger-thank you!

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