Dealing With Veterans’ Disconnection–and Our Own

_AND3024.NEFThe 2.4 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are all coming back, and they are bringing their “otherness” with them. Many of them return with head, body, mind, soul, and heart injury. They bring their PTSD, anger and depression, headache, soul-battered heartache, and disconnection with them.

We may try to compartmentalize them–out of sight, out of mind. We may try to keep them at a distance, even as we “thank them for their service.” But what we need to do is talk with them and learn from them. Why? Because their struggles and challenges simply magnify our own.

Their experience of learning how to live with a sense of disconnection and alienation in postmodern American culture intensifies our own experience of disconnection and alienation. Those of us who have not served in Iraq or Afghanistan may have found ways not to face it, but our veterans force us to look in the mirror. For them, the cat is out of the bag and there is no denial.

On The Front Porch, over the course of our recent “Veterans’ Voices on the Porch” series, we’ve learned how important it is to talk with each other. There is nothing more important than for these veterans to talk, share their experience, and report back in public about their public service. As we talk, we connect, and then healing happens—for ALL of us!

_AND2133.NEFOur next gathering of “Veterans’ Voices on the Porch” is set for Flag Day, June 14th, 7-9pm, featuring singer/songwriter Darden Smith and the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program. SongwritingWith:Soldiers pairs professional songwriters with soldiers and veterans to relieve stress and build community by writing songs based on stories of combat and returning home. This unique process provides a lasting document of the veterans’ story, in song form, that they can have and share.

“As the number of military suicides rises — up to 22 per day — we are more determined than ever to reach more service men and women with our program,” says SongwritingWith:Soldiers Executive Director Mary Judd. “One of our goals is to develop materials to help replicate the program on a broad scale. We have seen the healing effects. More service men and women need this opportunity. More songwriters need this opportunity, too.”

One Response to Dealing With Veterans’ Disconnection–and Our Own

  1. I am not sure if an RSVP is required for this event or not, but I would like to attend the Veteran Voices on the Porch event on Friday, June 14th.

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