Wright Elementary Gets Visit From Local Author

Martha Laguardia-Kotite, a freelance writer whose work has appeared in top-tier publications and newspapers, recently visited with students from Wright Elementary during Celebrate Literacy Week.

A Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Laguardia-Kotite is the award-winning author of several books including My Name Is Old Glory - A Celebration of the Star Spangled Banner (2012) which she read to the students.

For decades now, the poem “My Name Is Old Glory” has been read at military retirements and patriotic ceremonies. Composed by an unsung Marine who served during WW II named Howard Schnauber, it expresses his feelings about the Star-Spangled Banner. In the book, My Name Is Old Glory - A Celebration of the Star Spangled Banner, Schnauber’s simple but powerful lines blend with timeless images--from a civil rights march to the Moon landing, from Iwo Jima to September 11, 2001--that capture the courage, strength, and glory embodied in our national treasure. With sidebars about significant flag-raising events, the flag acts of 1777, 1794, 1812, and 1912, flag etiquette, personal reflections about what the flag means to Americans of all ages, and much more, this is sure to be the flag book of the year.

A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Laguardia-Kotite has served with distinction, earning many personal awards during her 23 years of active and reserve duty ashore and afloat on the West, East and Gulf coasts. Frequently she accepts invitations to speak at colleges, schools or before groups and clubs sharing inspiring insights from her books about America’s veterans. A spokesperson for the Coast Guard, in 2010, she served as Press Secretary for Admiral Thad Allen (USCG ret.) when he was Commandant and later for a portion of his time as National Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. In June, Martha was assigned to the First Coast Guard District in Boston, to assist as an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer Coordinator for FEMA Regions II and I.

Laguardia-Kotite's works include:

My Name Is Old Glory - A Celebration of the Star Spangled Banner (2012) (Co-author Trish Marx (Foreword Admiral Thad Allen, USCG ret).

So Others May Live: Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers Saving Lives, Defying Death (2008) (Foreword by Secretary Tom Ridge).

The untold story of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer. The four-time award-winning book released in hardcover and paperback (2008), was featured on the Weather Channel's documentary "When Weather Changed History" and received the 2010 Military Writer’s Society Gold Medal. In startlingly clear and exceptional writing, it tells twelve heroic stories of the greatest maritime rescues attempted by Coast Guard aircrews since the program was started in 1985. These feats, told through the eyes of the hero, reveal an understanding of how and why the rescuer, with flight crew assistance, risks his or her own life to reach out to save a stranger. The book covers diverse environments: oceans, hurricanes, oil rigs, caves, sinking vessels, floods, Niagara Falls and even Hurricane Katrina. It is truly a can't-put-it-down collection.

Changing the Rules of Engagement – Inspiring Stories of Courage and Leadership from Women in the Military (2012). Forewords by DNC Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Congressman Jeff Miller, (R.FL)

Story that documents the lives of women who have shattered the glass ceiling and performed extraordinary feats while serving their country. By telling their stories about their remarkable careers in traditionally male-dominated environments, Martha LaGuardia-Kotite demonstrates how tenacious and courageous women can achieve the unimaginable.

Among the pioneering women profiled are Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, who as vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard held the highest-ranking position of any woman in the history of the U.S. military and was the first female Presidential Military Aide; Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, USA, a Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee who was shot down in Iraq while piloting a Black Hawk helicopter; Heather Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate, Rhodes scholar, and the country’s only female veteran in Congress. Included are the inspirational stories of women Marines, one of the three female Shuttle commanders in the history of the NASA program; a U.S. Navy Diver and U.S. Navy Command Master Chief as well as a selection of the first female members of the military service academies’ gender-integrated classes, who recall the highs and lows of their trailblazing experiences.  These are only a few of the remarkable women who tell their own inspiring stories in Changing the Rules of Engagement. Representative of a widely diverse group of enlisted women and officers from different races and cultures, they have succeeded since the mid-1970s at combating prejudices and aiding change in the military with intelligence, passion, and honor while serving on the front lines.

For more information on Laguardia-Kotite visit www.mlaguardiakotite.com or her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/laguardiakotite.