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

Combat Trauma Archive

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


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


Learn about War, Trauma, and Humanities

NEH Grant Supports new course “War, Trauma, and the Humanities”

As an update for my upcoming work on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (Dialogues on the Experience of War), I wanted to share with you all the very cool poster promoting the new college course for this fall.

The course will be given at Governors State University, located in Chicago, and is overseen by Dr. Andrae Marak. The goal of “War, Trauma, and the Humanities” is to promote a greater understanding of the impact war and trauma has upon veterans. Students will learn about this important topic through literature, film, and group discussions with veterans. This interactive and multi-disciplinary course will conclude with a televised town hall discussion involving students, veterans, and members of the public.

My contribution to the course will be to lead a discussion on oral history interviews of veterans as evidence of trauma as well as to educate students on oral history interview techniques. Feel free to contact me ( if you would like to learn more about this course, or if you would like to participate in future projects involving this topic.

war trauma