Being Human

Line of Departure

A Dog’s Life

[Editor’s note: In the photograph above are Marine Captain-Ret. Jason Haag and his service dog, Axel, constant companions for most of the past 11 years following Jason’s final, troubled return from multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Axel died on January 14, and this picture of Jason and Axel, by photographer Dave Ellis, was taken moments before he passed. Below is writer Kristin Davis’s obituary for Axel, posted on the website for Leashes of Valor, a nonprofit founded by Jason that advocates for, and trains, service dogs for other struggling veterans. Also posted below, after the obituary, are links to “Line of Departure,” a three-part series from 2013 published in the Fredericksburg, VA Free Lance-Star about the Haag family, and Axel, and Jason’s struggles with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The Pie & Chai editors send love to the Haags, our former neighbors, as they grieve a dog who changed their lives in so many ways. With Axel’s help, the Haags’ courageous efforts to seek peace in their own family created a path to healing for so many others. To learn more about Axel, and about Jason’s ongoing work on behalf of America’s combat veterans, go to Leashes of]

Hearts and Minds

“The sorrow that has no vent in tears may make other organs weep”

Papa Don’t Preach

Put Away That Cell Phone or Ernest Hemingway Will Punch You in the Face

A Witness

“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

I recently finished work on a historical novel for Scholastic Press titled Stolen by Night which is scheduled for publication in fall 2023. It’s the story of teenagers in the Resistance in Occupied Paris during World War II, many of whom, after their capture, were “disappeared” in Hitler’s “Night and Fog” program, Nacht und Nebel. Most of the NN prisoners were sent to Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof, the only Nazi-run concentration camp on what is now French soil, in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace-Lorraine. Tens of thousands died there. Few survived.