I frequently find myself on Demonbreun Street here in Nashville, Tennessee. It is named after Jacques-Timothée Boucher, Sieur de Montbrun anglicized as Timothy Demonbreun. He is known as the “first citizen” of Nashville. Recently, I met his descendant, Brenda Elizabeth Demonbreun.
Miss Demonbreun can best be depicted as a Renaissance woman. She is a writer and poet. She is a woman of deep faith, passionately devoted to America. She told me, “I am an avid lover of people.” She has strongly supported law enforcement and the military. Brenda vigorously supports our country while recognizing our imperfections as a nation. We met to discuss her latest book: The Soul of a Soldier, which is an unapologetic tribute to the American soldier. She dedicates the book to her late father and veteran Homer Demonbreun, Jr. She also includes all “Soldiers of courageous valor that selflessly grant us the privilege of sustained freedom whether past, present, or future.”
Brenda Demonbreun masterly mixes her poetry and commentary to share her ideas, express emotions, and create imagery. Much like a musical artist, her book tells us of a larger purpose or meaning collectively. The stories are filled with certainty, with Demonbreun striving to improve our country.
In Soldier is His Name, Demonbreun walks the reader through a soldier's life. From youth to old age. It is a painful reminder that a once proud soldier is now old and feeble and abandoned by society. Sadly, veterans surrender their youth to protect our nation, and we have largely forgotten them as they have grown old and broken. It is a powerful reminder.
Demonbreun addresses the wars our nation fought. While not structured in chronological order, nevertheless, it presents a continuation of the tapestry of the American military. Legacies of Honor focuses on the Afghanistan War. Heroic Favor addresses Desert Storm. The Eyes of Saigon refers to the Vietnam War. Unforgettable Courage is about the Korean War. All are beautifully written. There is even attention on COVID in which Demonbreun correctly surmises that our country was “suffocated in lockdowns and denied fellowship.”
In her treatment of World War II, Fatigues of Honor, Demonbreun writes: “The American soldier of war’s morning tear will forever rest valiant before evil’s thrashing fall.” She even honors Pearl Harbor with “Pearls of Blood Stain.” In Blood Valor Rises she centers on World War I and a new type of war that soldiers had to fight. Reminiscing the Soul of Our Forefathers was focused on the Revolutionary War. One of the best lines to describe our country is found within this prose, “Patriotism birthed upon the souls of men ready for battle.” Demonbreun calls the Revolutionary War “a movement of freedoms and hope.”
Demonbreun brings a unique perspective to the American Civil War. In Threads of Allegiance, she does some of her best writing. In the acknowledgments, she foretells she will be “Reckoning with slavery, the confederacy, and racism” through her “ebony eyes.” And she does indeed do that. Brenda Demonbreun is a self-described “woman of color” and the daughter of a Black Air Force veteran. She “focused on the Confederate soldier not to demean the triumph of the north” but due to the “breezes of resentment still inhaled to this very day.”
During my conversation with Brenda Demonbreun, I was touched by two themes that emerged. One was unity, and the other was how to make the world a better place for the next generation. We must “reconcile our hearts from the plight of our ancestors.” She is correct. By linking the heroes who met the challenges of yesteryear in The Soul of a Soldier, Brenda Demonbreun artistically crafts a narrative that ties all together and lights a path of hope moving forward.
The Demonbreun name is respected in Tennessee, especially here in Nashville. Brenda has reinforced her family’s legacy. Brenda Demonbreun is a gifted poet and writer poised to address critical issues that continue to confront our society. She offers solutions unifying people with a skilled command of language and imagery. She calls that the “hope of America.” I highly recommend The Soul of a Soldier. You can purchase a copy through Amazon.
JC Bowman is the executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee and a Marine Corps Veteran.