Rosa del Duca Discovers the True Meaning of Duty
by Jennifer Ann Charron
At the book launch of Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War, Rosa del Duca, a 30-something writer, musician and veteran, talked about her time in the National Guard. The small, intimate crowd at the Orinda Library came to hear not only her story, but about her road to publication, and the process of writing this memoir, her first book. Turns out, del Duca has quite a story to tell.
Breaking Cadence, a gripping page-turner, depicts difficult teen choices and consequences. Written in a down-to-earth style, Breaking Cadence exposes predatory high school military recruitment. The memoir unfolds into the traumatic tale of a girl who suddenly realizes that she can never participate in battle.
In pre-9/11 Montana, 17 year old Rosa del Duca was looking for a way to afford a college education. Because public high schools rely on government funding, they must allow the military to recruit on campus. Although The military offers a free college education to teens, some students fear the three to six-year commitment. But the National Guard offered Rosa commitment of only one weekend per month, while she enrolled in college.
Breaking Cadence is a simple description of how these tactics tempt unassuming, immature kids into a world of war games they never see coming. Del Duca tells the story of how she was lured into the National Guard and then ROTC before she discovered that there was a name for what she felt: Conscientious Objector.
If she could prove she was a Conscientious Objector, the military would let her go. As a peace-loving young woman, yet also a woman of her word, del Duca grappled with a crisis of conscience. With a strong sense of obligation to her commitments and community, she explores the true sense of duty and service.
Del Duca’s book demonstrates her need to heal and warn students about the truth of military service. The message to American youth is clear—the only way to get ahead in today’s economy is to have a college degree. Without family wealth, kids must rely on merit or need-based scholarships, both of which are tremendously competitive. Young people are ripe for quick answers and potential scams.
Breaking Cadence tells the rare story of “one woman’s war against the war.” As del Duca points out in her closing chapters, there is more than one kind of patriot.
Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War–a memoir by Rosa del Duca, Ooligan Press (Portland, Oregon) 2019. Info: rosadelduca.com
Berkeley, Wednesday, August 28, @7-9 p.m.
Reading & Discussion at Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
Sausalito, Thursday, October 10, @7 p.m.
Reading at Why There Are Words, Studio 333, Caledonia St., Sausalito