Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Veterans Oral History Interviews

Combat Trauma Presentations

Lewis University PresentationThe New Year is often a time to reflect on the year that has passed. Last year was a watershed moment for the Making History Project in that I completed the work on my first NEH grant involving combat trauma.

Combat Trauma Presentations

The work culminated in November when I made several oral history presentations in Chicago concerning War and Trauma. The main presentation hosted at Governor’s State University involved the co-teaching of a course with Dr. Andrae Marak. The students were deeply engaged in the topic of trauma and recognizing trauma through the lens of an oral history interview.

Trauma, Empathy, and Understanding

Perhaps most fulfilling for me was the student’s acceptance of the hypothesis that combat trauma and all the adjectives that describe it, is a very destructive and debilitating force on our combat veterans. Better yet, the students admitted that such trauma demanded empathy, but yet most agreed that empathy was oddly missing for combat veterans. This brought home my point for how we have a long way to go to understand and effectively deal with combat trauma. To this I say, mission accomplished.

Mission Accomplished: Thank You!

I was also fortunate enough to give another presentation at Lewis University concerning the goals of the Making History Project and to spread awareness of oral history and documenting combat trauma amongst our Veterans. Again, I am grateful to everyone at Governor’s State University and Lewis University for making this all happen. Finally, a big thank you to Dr. Andrae Marak for the kind words and feedback below from his students on the presentation:

Governor's State University Presentation

 

75th Anniversary Airborne Jump Flag

82nd Airborne 75th Anniversary Jum

On October 20, 2017, the 508 P.I.R. of the 82nd Airborne performed a commemorative jump for the Family & Friends of the 508 P.I.R on the 75th Anniversary of the Airborne. Present and observing were paratroopers from the conflicts of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Panama.

I was also present and fortunate enough to win a silent auction for the signed jump flag from that day. All paratroopers that jumped signed the flag.

Below is a picture of the signed flag as held by Lt. Col. Browning and CSM Donaldson right before they jumped.

75th Anniversary Jump Flag

War and Trauma Discussion

War and Trauma: Dialogues on the Experience of War

On November 6, 2017, I am honored to help lead a class discussion on war and trauma at Governor’s State University in Chicago. This coursework is the result of winning a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant topic is for the Dialogues on the Experience of War.

Veteran Oral History

Veterans oral history projects are a natural fit for such topics as they necessarily develop and encourage discussion concerning war experiences. Outside of preservation and access, one mission of the Making History Project is to compare and contrast combat veteran trauma across the generations and conflicts. Of special interest are the similarities and differences, if any, amongst combat veterans from different conflicts. The goal is to better understand combat trauma and hopefully contribute in some way to the research of this under-developed topic.

Combat Trauma Studies

The course itself at Governor’s State University is completely unique to this genre. Students will be learning about combat trauma across the generations from World War I to the present through literature, poetry, film, and oral history. Best of all, there are five Veterans participating in the class as team leaders to help stimulate additional thought and discussion by sharing their own insights and experiences.

The course yearns to be an immersive experience in which all participants are sure to grow and develop a greater appreciation for what military veterans go through in the service of their country. In the end, the course will culminate with a veteran town hall in which students, team leaders, and members of the public will discuss what they learned and what it means to them.

I am looking forward to meeting the class and sharing what I have gleaned from the oral histories that I have taken. I imagine we will have a very interesting and stimulating discussion. Perhaps this passion will rub off and some students will decide to engage in their own oral history projects to preserve our past for future generations.

17-11 NEH War and Trauma Poster for Governor's State