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Between War and Here book cover

This book captures truths you won't read, see, or hear anyplace else, because Surrick knows those truths the only way you can know them—by the heart.  She sees and senses what no one else does, then shares what she knows with her music and in this book. You will read longer works about the consequences of our combat commitment in Afghanistan and Iraq, but you will read none more important.
     —Steven L. Thompson, United States Air Force, 1968–74

Between War and Here

by Carolyn A. Surrick

Available now from Upper Green Publishing
Kindle edition | Apple iBook
A portion of the profit from each book goes to the Fisher House Foundation

It seemed simple enough. We practice every day, so why not take that music to a place where it will change the world even if it's only for ninety minutes once a week? After many unsuccessful attempts to get permission to play for the wounded warriors, I called the Chaplains Office and was given the number for Peter Anderson, the director of the hotel. When Peter said, "Sure, come and play on Friday," I’m not sure he imagined that we would be there for almost three years.

I went alone in the beginning and then Sue Richards brought her Celtic harp, and Ginger Hildebrand her guitar and fiddle, and we made friends with the warriors (and Pierre, the chef who always has a smile and a hello for us and makes great crab cakes and spectacular pastries). The music was so soothing that the soldiers asked if we could come back in the evenings to help them fall asleep. It wasn't practical to come back at night, but we could make them a CD.

I convinced Bob Dawson at Bias Studios, Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering, Micah Solomon at Oasis CD Manufacturing, Marilyn Drea at Mac-In-Town Graphic Design Services and photographer Burgess Blevins to donate their services and we recorded and produced Above and Beyond. In February of 2010, we started giving them away to soldiers and their families. By the following November we had given away over 1400 CDs.

It is very beautiful music—so peaceful that while we were editing I almost fell asleep listening to the rough tracks in the car on my way to the studio. Mothers find solace, soldiers find peace, and they sometimes find a place to go in their mind that is more about beauty than war. They say it helps and I believe them. When we do sell the CD, we donate the money to the Special Operations Warriors Fund.

I started speaking at the Rotary, at church, to my friends about our experiences with the wounded warriors and realized that I wished more people could know about this world of courage and determination. I wished that I had a book of postcards that I could show my friends and say, "there's Wasim, he's walking now!" or "that little girl was so sweet."

So here are my postcards.

The facility is closing down and by the time this book is out, our hotel will no longer exist. The staff is scattering to the four winds, some soldiers will go home, some to Bethesda and where we will land, I do not know.

Some of the proceeds of every book that is sold will go to The Fisher House Foundation, an organization that donates "comfort homes" on the grounds of VA and military health centers so that families can come and be close to their wounded or sick warriors. That is the very best medicine.

—Carolyn A. Surrick, June 14, 2011

In the News

Radio Segment, WYPR, Baltimore, MD, "Music at Walter Reed"
"Between 9/11 and Here" – Bay Weekly
"Hearing Hope in the Melody" – Bay Weekly

Bless the fallen ones
And the rising ones

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