Boys at War

Boys went to war.

My great-uncle was one of them. His plane was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea in World War II.

Saint Paul’s  Cathedral lists his name in the American Memorial book in London.

My great uncle’s name in the Saint Paul’s Cathedral American World War II Memorial.


Now women serve, and I thank men and women for their dedication, training, and sacrifice that is beyond our imaginations.

But, I did not think it was fun to be a girl. Not the kind of girl I was.

The girl I was got picked on. When I escaped into the adventures of my imagination, I turned into anything I wanted.

Most of the time, I was a boy somewhere else kicking ass in basketball or war.

In reality, I had two left feet, and the only good hand I had was the one with which I wrote.

A great song and storytelling in the video below reminded me of why I originally wrote my book, Sons of the Edisto.


The video shows the emotion poured into the song. The main singer stands before a Union troop to rally them.

Drums make you feel you are marching right into the center of battle.

“This is it boys. This is war.”

There is that vulnerable moment.

“Oh, Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for.”

In the American Civil War—as shown in FUN’s video—violence exploded on boys’ faces when they killed. Trenches were dug. Cannons shot. Boys became the type of men they never imagined.

What does the face of a boy who takes life for the first time look like? Can you save him?

The song, like one of my favorite shows Hell on Wheels, captures that violence and vulnerability.

You are now reading the words of a woman, who was told by friends and family she would make the perfect mother to a family full of boys.

Right now I have one boy in life.

I have two boys on 370 plus pages.

Despite influence of the strong-minded women in my family, I envisioned a book about two boys going to war literally and in their reality.

That alone—I believe—crosses every generation.

Owen Alston and JD Bannister had to go to war with town politics, their fathers, and each other.

I began in June 2006. In the years since I decided once I finish editing Sons of the Edisto, I will start the sequel.

Alright I confess, I have already started composing some scenes in the spring and early summer for the second book.

I believe in well-written women empowerment novels and stories.

As a writer, I still enjoy writing about boys who cannot help finding mischief.

What wars or turmoil do your characters face?

What carried over from your childhood into your stories?

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

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One thought on “Boys at War

  1. Elliot August 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM Reply

    I think there is a sense of adventure from when I was a child which is not there in the same way now (my friend and I would go wandering miles away), which is starting to find its way into my writing, but mostly in a small sense.

    I watch Hell on wheels also (which is beautiful to look at, but maybe not quite as good as I hoped – I loved Deadwood, which is the nearest comparison). There is something about that time which is very interesting. Probably the development of this civilisation and how it relates to the real history.

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