Alumna Shares Experiences as a Military Wife in New Anthology

Posted: September 6, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

anne berry
Anne Berry
Photo courtesy Anne Berry

Anne Miren Berry, BA Economics ’91, MA History ’95, had been married less than five years when her husband, Joel, shipped out in January 2003 for the Middle East.

Her story about that deployment – hunting for waterfront property in North Carolina with a chicken-chomping realtor, then tucking photographs of the property into care packages bound for her husband in Iraq – will be published in the anthology, “Operation Homecoming,” to be released Sept. 12.

A collection of stories from military veterans and families who went through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, “Operation Homecoming” chronicles this generation’s experience with combat and life on the home front.

“Sending Joe into combat broke my heart,” says Berry. “The only way to get through it was to stand on the banks of some river and see the house we’d build one day, even if that turned out to be a mirage.”

Her story, titled “Down the Road,” shows her hopeful focus on the future. It also describes the long-awaited reunion with her husband and the countless gravel and marshy paths she took to find just the right property – before she realized that where they settled wouldn’t matter, so long as they were together.

She’s the only writer featured in “Operation Homecoming” who is affiliated with Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., where she also works as a journalist and columnist. The book’s launch also coincides with the redeployment of her husband, Col. Joel Berry, this time with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Service Support Group.

“Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families,” was edited by Andrew Carroll, the best-selling editor of “War Letters,” and published by Random House.

The National Endowment for the Arts commissioned the project, sending authors to military bases around the globe to find literary talent. Mason alumnus and best-selling author Richard Bausch, BA English ’74, was among them. Other writers included Tom Clancy, Tobias Wolff and Mark Bowden, author of “Black Hawk Down.”

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