War claims the lives of so many, and often times, it can be difficult to understand the dire consequences it has on lives of those left behind.
A new book, entitled “Kimberly’s Flight,” about an Easley native and US Army Captain who sacrificed her life for her country, shows just how much impact one life can have on the lives of so many others.
Written by local journalist Anna Simon, and Ann Hampton, the mother of the fallen soldier, the book chronicles the life of Kimberly Hampton, who was killed at war in Iraq in 2004. Simon says Kimberly Hampton, an Easley High Graduate, has a remarkable story to tell.
“It is a mother-daughter story,” said Simon. “It’s a story of a lot of love.”
She says the book was created, not only to tell a story of motherly love, but to show what it is like fighting for your country overseas.
“The first part of the book talks about Kimberly’s life,” said Simon. “She was well loved and well thought of by many people. The book also talks about what it was like to be a member of the U.S. armed forces serving overseas. Then, the story chronicles her parent’s lives after her death.”
Simon says Hampton contacted her with hopes of telling an untold story to the people that loved Kimberly.
“About a year after she died her parents contacted me about helping them write a book about her life,” said Simon. “The writing took a number of years. They told me that they not only wanted to chronicle their daughter’s life, but they also hoped it would be something that might be inspirational for any other parents who have lost a child.”
Simon, a former reporter with The Easley Progress, had already been covering Kimberly Hampton’s death as a member of the media, and it had attracted national attention as well.
“At the time of their daughter’s death, I was working for The Greenville News,” said Simon. “The war in Iraq had not been going on very long at that point and we were just approaching 500 deaths.”
Simon said Kimberly’s funeral in Easley was extremely emotional.
“In Easley, from Rock Springs Baptist Church to the cemetery, people were lining the streets waving American flags,” said Simon. “There were veterans in wheelchairs saluting. The drive from the church to the cemetery for the burial may be the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed in a quarter of a century.”
This began a journey to find out who Kimberly Hampton really was.
“The more we learned about her, the more we found that she was a very outstanding person,” said Simon.
Among other things she discovered, Simon found that Kimberly Hampton was the first American female pilot to be killed in battle by the enemy. Interviewing a number of her fellow soldiers and friends, Simon says Hampton was more of a role model to everyone she knew. “She has a footnote in history,” said Simon.
The book caused Ann Hampton to return to the place where her daughter died, and Simon says her experiences were life changing.
“At the end of the book, Ann Hampton had the opportunity to go to Iraq on a humanitarian mission where she worked side by side with Iraqi moms who have lost husbands and children,” said Simon. “It gave her a degree of comfort after going over there and talking to these women. She came home with a very sure feeling that her daughter’s life was absolutely not in vain.”
The co-authors will hold a book signing on Sunday, June 10 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Capt. Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley to celebrate the recent release of their book.