Monday, January 26, 2009

Talk About It

Tonight I attended the opening to an exhibit of oral histories and artifacts put on by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the HHH Center ("Warrior to Citizen Oral History Project", it remains at the U of M until Saturday the 31st, and then will travel to several other campuses and cities). It is essentially a collection of the oral histories of 30 Iraq and Afghanistan vets along with some artifacts from several of the interviewees (of which I am one). 

Several speakers, politicians, faculty, and veterans were present. The key thing that came up over and over again, including in a speech by Major General Larry W. Shellito, was the importance of talking and sharing. 

Discussed were problems from previous times. World War II Vets came home and entered a society that was eager to increase production and get back to business as usual. Many of them never shared their stories, and held in their memories for decades or to the grave.

For Vietnam Vets, the culture back home was one of mistrust, anger, and a desire to know nothing of their stories or experiences.

In these ways, Vets today are truly lucky to have a society at home that is willing to listen, read blogs, watch movies, and remain open to the stories of their returning Veterans. We just need to remember to talk.