Author: Cynthia B. Acree with Col. Cliff Acree, USMC
Title: The Gulf Between Us: A Story of love and Survival in Desert Storm
Publisher: Brassey’s Inc
Reviewer: W. H. McDonald, Jr. – AAA Founder
A Love Story of Miracles, Faith, Honor and War!
I truly believe that there are never any random accidents of fate at work in our lives—everything happens to us for a reason, even if we do not understand why! Reading the inspiring memoir “The Gulf Between Us: A Story of love and Survival in Desert Storm” you cannot help but believe that prayers are truly answered; and that there must be a divine purpose to our lives even if it is not understood at the time of the events. One thing is evident; this book is about the power of faith and love.
The husband and wife writing team of Cynthia and Col. Cliff Acree have written a duel storyline that is more than just about war—it is a love story. They chronicle the compelling emotions and the events surrounding the Colonel’s capture and his time spent as a POW during Desert Strom. It is a triumphant tale of courage from both Cliff and Cynthia as they endure, survive, suffer and embrace once again. They both have this underlining strength and faith that comes through very loud and clear.
No matter what you have read about the experiences of the POWS in Desert Storm there was much more to that story that was left untold —or incorrectly reported. Some of them were subjected to brutal beatings and life threatening treatment. Colonel Acree was subjected to a harsher treatment than others for various reasons, including his strong loyalty and patriotism and the fact that he was a Marine pilot and company commander. He would not give an inch or compromise on his core values and for those reasons he had to endure the brute force of his Iraqi capturers. Truly an American hero!
Equally courageous and inspiring is the corresponding story of Cynthia’s experiences, as she has to face all the uncertainties of the situation. Working from a base of great faith and personal strength she takes positive actions and organizes a movement to get world attention focused on the fate of all the POWS and MIAS. Her personal and emotional journey did not come without its own form of pain.
We learn a lot about who the authors were and how they met and became high school friends. The background story gives us a look inside their relationship and what kind of people they were prior to the life changing experiences of the war. I think this adds greatly to the power of their story. These two individual souls seemed destined to become spiritually connected in the very fabric of their lives. This book is more than a war story it is about their own personal spiritual journey. It is a story that will inspire many others and perhaps change a few lives along the way. And maybe, that was one of the divine purposes that the universe had in mind for all that they went through. I know that I was touched by their story on many levels. I am a better person for having read their book.
It is a well-written, easy to follow story. The authors share a huge part of themselves with the reader and that honesty comes through and makes you feel good about them as people. This book receives my personal endorsement and recommendation that you buy and read this book.
Reviewer: Joe Fabel – AAA Vice President
“…as POW’s, we had fought a different kind of battle—a battle of fear and loneliness and resistance. We had fought in closer combat than any pilot and did so blindfolded and handcuffed.” (page 245)
Without the same experience it is impossible to describe the mental and physical abuse suffered by Cliff Acree and his fellow POW’s. They went through a hellish time when captives of the Iraqi forces, a people who chose to ignore any and all Geneva Convention regulations. In effect, they abandoned human considerations in their hellish dealings with the Allied prisoners in their control.
Cindy, with the input from Cliff, describes the ordeals suffered by her husband during the many days of his captivity. Compounding the physical abuse was the constant not knowing if another brutish beating was moments away. Cliff was tested to his limits if not beyond. Through it all he maintained the highest standards of being a Marine. It was that Semper Fi which gave him courage and toughness to endure. The beatings were endless.
After endless days and nights Cliff was finally united with other POW’s, an event which bolstered his resolve. “Possibly we were going to make it.” The repatriation finally and surprisingly came. His many severe wounds would now receive medical attention.
Cindy’s constant faith that Cliff would come home prompted her organization and participation in POW/MIA Liberty Alliance group. She understood that the family members waiting at home needed to be provided the hope and conviction of a safe return for their loved ones. These two suffered together, although be it in different manners.
Welcome home to all of our service men and women. We are proud of your contributions to our freedom and security.