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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #020 Ė Building Memorials
May 30, 2005

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

May 30, 2005 Issue-020 Ė Building Memorials

From Tom Gilbert Ė Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Happy Memorial Day
Featured Article: Building Memorials
Resources You Can Use: Memorygrabber, Your Favorite Year

Opening Remarks: Happy Memorial Day

I hope all of you are having, or had, a good Memorial Day holiday. Typically this is the start to the summer season (at least for all of us in the United States). People get out on this weekend, heading to lakes, campgrounds, theme parks, sporting events and other destinations. There are picnics, barbeques and family gatherings.

This weekend also commemorates those who have served in the military, especially those who have given their life to defend our country in the various wars. It started as a way to remember all the soldiers who died in the Civil War on both sides.

I believe that war is always a last option and a "solution" that, unfortunately, causes untold damage, loss of life and grief. War is not a good thing and it is truly a horror when a country pursues it as an act of aggression. In peace-loving democracies wartime action should always be a defense against aggression.

One thing that we should always do, of course, is to have respect and compassion for those who have been in war, both soldiers and civilians. Some of the greatest acts of love and service have happened in war situations. We remember and thank all those who have served, including those who serve in the "line of fire" in everyday occupations like law enforcement, firefighters, and medical workers.

Thank you to all who are subscribed and/or reading the Your Life is Your Story newsletter. You are receiving it because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. It is a special thing to share with you life story writing and personal history tips, resources and thoughts. If you like what you read here, you can pass it along to a friend. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what youíd like to see more of in this newsletter Ė simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. Ė Tom

Featured Article: Building Memorials

By Tom Gilbert

Most of us learn in our history lessons about the various great memorials built by different civilizations. Some of these memorials are so old that they are mysterious and we may never know exactly why, or even how, they were built. Iím thinking of the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Sphinx as examples.

There are many memorials that are more recent and we can know exactly when, where and why they were constructed. Some of the national monuments in Washington, D.C. commemorate great past leaders of the United States such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. If youíve ever visited these memorials youíve probably felt the heavy presence of history.

Lots of war memorials have been erected and they serve as a reminder of the great cost and sacrifice men and women in uniform have paid. I vividly remember the first time I walked along the Vietnam Memorial. The wall starts low and gradually increases in height and then slopes back down again. The thousands of names of soldiers who died in the conflict in Southeast Asia are recorded on the wall and walking past them I couldnít help but feel somber.

More recently the World War Two Memorial was completed. It was a surprise to me that this memorial had not been built earlier. When I was in D.C. it was still under construction.

Memorials are man-made structures. They can help us preserve history, but the stories behind the events are part of peopleís life stories that were in some way touched by these events. They may have been a participant, or they may be related to someone who was part of the event.

Preserving your life story takes time and preparation. It also takes effort and it may take helpful collaboration from personal history professionals. When you create your story in the form of book, audio, video or other means you are building a lasting memorial that others can share in.

What are the building blocks of your story?

Obviously it helps to have saved things like letters, pictures, journals, newspaper clippings and other mementos.

Interviews with the life story subject are also important building blocks. Iím currently involved with a client who wants her life story written. The finished product will be a book. Getting to the finished product is a process that includes numerous recorded interviews, sorting through journals, scanning photographs and researching historical books and other sources.

You can learn more about how to do this by exploring the information on my Your Life is Your Story website. Peruse the pages on oral history, journaling, researching your story and so forth. I think it will give you some insight into the "building materials" available to you. I hope it inspires you to get started.

Do consider building your life memorial to pass on to others. Maybe youíve already begun. Perhaps you just donít know how to begin. Regardless, the importance of telling your story should not be underestimated.

Take your time, but donít needlessly delay. Set some time aside to take inventory of what you have saved Ė the letters, photos and so forth. Save that list and then consider speaking with a personal historian. You donít have to commit to something you donít feel you can afford or can take the time to do. But you really donít want to shortchange your story either. Your life memorial can mean so much for so many people in the years to come. So, if necessary, think big and start small.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use


The fabulous Memorygrabber e-book will give you countless ideas and help in recording your life story, from great memory-inducing tips to various ways to preserve your story.

I personally use this product and I really appreciate the effort Michael Boyter, author and creator, put into it. Itís very affordable and easy to use. See more here

Your Favorite Year

Hereís an idea that can preserve part of your life story. Itís not meant to be a comprehensive autobiography but it can be a start for preserving your journey and a shorter memorial to a favorite or meaningful year in your life.

What was your favorite year? It varies for everyone but Iím sure there was a time that meant something very special to you and that you enjoy reminiscing about.

You can get more information about the special Your Favorite Year life story service Your Life is Your Story provides by going to the get started page. Check the box for Your Favorite Year and submit the form and Iíll email you more information.

Thatís it for this monthís issue. Thanks for reading and hereís to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know youíve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this Ďzine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, Ė keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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