Standing Watch, A Journey from Fear to Courage

As the mother of a female sailor, wounded and nearly killed, in the terrorist bombing on the USS Cole in the Port of Yemen in 2000, I became quit absorbed in the stories of the courageous men and women who selflessly serve our nation.  Equally, I was amazed to discover that most works of literature, on the subject of military events, focused primarily on the men who serve and their father’s.   This inspired me to write Standing Watch, A Journey from Fear to Courage, a memoir that depicts the experience of a nineteen year old female sailor, and her family, as they move through a tragedy most of us could never imagine; the loss of innocence, seventeen comrades and the journey back to courage. Similar to the book Heart of a Hawk by Deborah H. Tainsh

Seventeen Navy sailor’s were killed when two uniformed terrorists, sailed to the side of the USS Cole, in a small boat full of explosives, and blasted a forty by forty foot hole in the hull of the ship.  This event, just short of a year later, was followed by 911, and together motivated our nation to establish Homeland Security and my daughter, SA Kesha Stidham to return to her ship, continue to serve and protect our nation. Stidham, along with the entire crew of the USS Cole, will always live with the memory of their lost comrades and wounded ship, but never fail to push forward with courage.    

Standing Watch is one woman's story of how her life changed when her daughter, SA Kesha Stidham, was injured in the terrorist bombing of the U.S.S. Cole that took place on October 12, 2000.Uncertain if her daughter was dead or alive, she gradually gained the strength to deal with her own fears and to help others in grief deal with their losses as well. Laced with spirituality and understanding, this book traces her journey from the shadows of her fears to the acceptance of the changes that life can bring, and how they can enrich one's life.

Confronted with her own immortality, fear and courage young Stidham rose up, with a lion heart, to face it all.  Resolving her mistrust, in all that she thought she knew, she renews her faith in herself, her comrades, and her service to her country. Struggling  with her loss of feeling invincible and her commitment as a sailor Stidham decides to return to her service, receives the Purple Heart, and goes on to serve six more years in the Navy.  Stidham has vowed, as I have, to never forget the blast that redefined our lives. Through Standing Watch, we honor those who gave their lives, those who kept the crippled Cole afloat, the comrades that tended the wounded and our history. 

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Thank you for your time and consideration

Michelle Mantooth Poston, Author