Earl Granville: Power of One

This week, America was inspired by the images of Earl Granville, a wounded Army veteran turned adaptive athlete, uplifting a woman (his guide) and carrying her across the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Earl competes in the memory of his brother, Joe, and his comrades lost in battle. He is the embodiment of the strength, resilience and compassion. His story will move you. Please watch and share.

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Trajectory

The trajectory of an object in motion, such as a bullet, is slightly curved. The Vietnamese sniper that took aim at Jim Street in 1969 must have known this fact. His first round, aimed a few degrees higher than sightline, was pulled down by gravity as it travelled forward until its curved path found its mark downrange — Lieutenant Commander Smith, the beloved company commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. Suicide Charley.

Jim Street, an eighteen year old grunt who dropped out of high school to join the Marine Corps, zeroed in on the deep black hole of his commanding officer’s neck as it began gushing blood like a geyser.

“Smith’s hit!”

As if in unison with LCDR Smith’s lanky body, Jim’s cloak of invincibility fell to the ground, despite being flanked by the steel armor of four tanks and six amtracs. Now in the sniper’s sight, Jim has just formed the words that echoed along the tree line.

“Save the f’ing ammunition, we’re gonna get that sonuvabitch!”

Then the second shot rang out.

This is a story about how the trajectory of a bullet changed the path of a man’s life.

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#GivingTuesday

Last year, Power of One launched our first fundraising campaign. And with it, came our first gift of $10.00. It may not seem like much, but it meant the world to us because it was given with love. You see, our first donor has many mouths to feed, yet she wanted to kickstart the spirit of giving because she knew that all contributions — large and small — help us tell stories that help others.

To that first donor who gave — THANK YOU! To all of YOU who gave this past year — THANK YOU!

Thanks to you, Power of One was able to capture amazing stories, publish essays and op-eds, host preview and discussion programs, and connect with thousands of people, many of whom were buoyed by the stories of hope and healing.

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All About Time

And I learned. I learned about warriorship. I learned about bonds that never break. I learned about bravery being a by-product of trying to not get your friends killed. I learned that when a friend dies, something dies inside. I learned that when it’s time to pick up the pieces after battle, a switch turns on and a mantra takes over: “It’s just a thing. Ain’t nothing but a thing.” And I learned about time. What it does, how it works, its absence in the midst of a firefight and its vacuum where nothing comes back out the same, if it ever comes back out at all.

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Beyond The Wall Program

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give what I have received; and to share what I have been given.”

My yoga teacher ‘Kala,’ ends every class with this beautiful saying.

In Sanskrit, her name means “fine arts,” in Hindu, it means “God of time.”

One morning, after nearly a year of practicing with her at her makeshift studio at a local YMCA, I realized that her parting words were a gift to us, meant to seed our day with the practice of giving and receiving — the innate beauty of sharing our unique presence, attributes and knowledge with others, and to listen and allows others to share themselves with us – the receipt. Allowing these words to seep in more deeply, it dawned on me that giving and receiving is the same act; just different actions or actors separated only by a thing called ‘time’.

Last month, I received a note from a veteran in North Carolina. He had just finished reading my first novel, Beyond The Wall: The Journey Home. It had been recommended to him by a nurse at his VA hospital.

His note read:

“I read your book, Beyond The Wall. I’m not sure if you will ever know exactly how close you really got. Painfully close. But I’m glad someone did. Thank You.”

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“I’m Scared”

“I’m scared.” Her words tumble out. Their weight seem to outweigh her physical form, and she holds our eye contact with large, searching eyes as she repeats the words again, this time with more emphasis. “I’m really scared.”

I nod my head. I know why she’s scared.

We can’t see depression. And because we can’t see it, we don’t know where the bottom is.

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