We are delighted and honored to be part of “Hope for Our Veterans,” a three-part series organized by Crossroads Cultural Center
Under Fire: A Candid Look at the Military Chaplaincy
April 24th at 7:30 pm at TheCatholic University of America
(McGivney Hall, Keane Auditorium)
The event is free and open to the public — join us and spread the word!
Crossroads Cultural Center in Washington, DC, is hosting a three-part event that explores “Hope for Our Veterans.” The first (on March 21st) focused on the difficulties facing too many of our veterans upon their return and it featured Nancy Albin, co-founder of a valuable resource and source of hope: the Los Angeles Habilitation House, which helps returning veterans suffering from PTSD tackle the sometimes seemingly unsurmountable challenges to reentering the workforce.
The second event will take place April 24th and will explore the role of military chaplains with excerpts from “Chaplains Under Fire” and a discussion with Chaplain Ken Bolin (who was an infantryman before he became a chaplain) as well as documentary’s editor, Andrea Hull, and director Lee Lawrence. The evening will be moderated by Suzanne Tanzi, managing editor of Traces magazine.
Part three of the series, “The Arts and Military Healing,” will be presented by Smithsonian curator Jane Milosch on Veteran’s Day. We’ll keep you posted about the time and location.
On view for another month at the Brooklyn Museum, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath is an amazingly effective show. It groups some 400 images taken over the last 166 years thematically — from training to deployment to combat, injuries, death, and the 1000-mile stare of returning troops. By organizing the show this way, it drives home the constants of war. The equipment and circumstances change, the realities of sending people into combat doesn’t. There are acts of bravery, tenacity, loyalty and love on the battlefield, in hospital tents, by gravestones. There is also unspeakable brutality, suffering, and devastation both individual and collective, military and civilian.
This was our take on it. If you have seen the show in Brooklyn or any of its previous venues (Museum Fine Arts, Houston; Corcoran, Washington, DC; Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles), please share your thoughts.
They’re called “responders” – the folks at the other end of the Veterans Crisis Line. But they aren’t the only ones serving on the front-line of suicide prevention.
As a society, as colleagues, as friends, as family, we cannot leave the work of suicide prevention to the “responders” alone.
It is up to all of us to act or at least “ask” if we see someone unduly stressed according to psychologist, Dr. Caitlin Thompson, deputy director of suicide prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“If worried – asking people straight out saying, ‘I’m so concerned about how you seem to be, have you been thinking about suicide at all?'” Thompson advised. “It’s just that simple really to just ask the question that can be a very scary question.”
It’s time to stop being “scared” and start becoming informed.
Humanity Explored Film Festival is up and running, and you can watch Chaplains Under Fire on-line as well as a number of other great documentaries and feature films. And, please, give the festival your feedback and spread the word. Thanks.
For all of you who ask us where you can watch “Chaplains Under Fire”– well, we are proud to announce that the documentary will be part of the next Humanity Explored film festival whose organizers, Culture Unplugged, make it easy for everyone to attend: it is on-line, free, and runs for a year. The 2013 festival will launch later this month and, in the meantime, you can still check out the 2012 films.
The Dart Society is an independent nonprofit organization of journalists who cover trauma, conflict, and human rights. In its fourth publication, it highlights range of veteran issues, often with an eye to helping the media deal with these issues more sensitively and honestly. You can read the current issue on-line — it is well worth it.
Last year, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival showed the value of laughter, empathy, respect and understanding by putting on “Stand Up for Heroes” — check out a news report of last year’s event then pass the word along about this year’s Stand Up for Heroes at the Beacon Theater in New York on Thursday, Nov 8.
Silver Star Families of America placed May 1st on the national calendar as a day to remember and honor all those who have suffered wounds and illnesses while on active duty in a war zone. It is also a day to thank groups like Silver Star Families of America for their consistent support of veterans and their families.
I first came across this group while researching a chapter for War Trauma and Its Wake: Expanding the Circle of Healing. I conclude the chapter by “highlighting some interventions that benefit our wounded warriors and their families on their long, tortuous journey home.” Among them:
Recognition. Only those warriors injured in combat receive the Purple Heart medal. This leaves many warriors wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan with no concrete recognition of their service. Silver Star Families of America (SSFOA) rectifies this by awarding silver star banners or certificates. These are not to be confused with a Silver Star medal, which is issued by the government for gallantry in action. The SSFOA banner/certificate is an unofficial recognition that expresses the community’s appreciation. Similarly, one can submit a request to the SSFOA to honor caregivers, usually relegated to the ranks of unsung heroes.
We have a personal connection to this project: Andrea Hull, who edited Chaplains Under Fire, has been working behind the scenes to help make this series of free workshops a reality for troops, veterans and military families. Here is a flyer with more information. Be advised that the web site — www.artsandmilitary.org — will go live later today or tomorrow. You can also get updates at the project’s Facebook page.