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

Oral History Presentations 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


Veterans Oral History NEH Grant

NEH GrantVeterans Oral History Program

I am pleased to announce that a coveted grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities was awarded to a Veterans oral history program that I will be working with. Specifically, the NEH grant for Dialogues on the Experience of War was awarded to Governors State University for a program titled “War, Trauma, and the Humanities”. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Andrae Marak, and Rosemary Johnsen, will be the co-directors for the project.

Oral History Training and Presentation

My immediate role for this veterans oral history project will be to train students on how to conduct and interpret veteran oral history interviews as they relate to war, trauma, and memory. Additionally, I will be called upon to present World War II veteran oral history interviews that address combat-related trauma.

Combat Trauma and Memory

The project will focus on the ways in which members of the military experience trauma–lived and remembered, on and off the field of battle. To that end, the project will include an intensive eight-week college course covering the experiences of veterans and trauma across the conflicts of World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Iraq/Afghanistan. The course work will focus on primary sources, historical novels, poetry, and feature films. Five students who are military veterans will be selected to assist with the college course. The veteran students will share their experience while also helping to present materials and moderate discussions.

Town Hall for Understanding and Healing

The end of the project will feature a video and audio taped town hall meeting in which the five veteran students, class members, professors, local veterans, and interested members of the public will interact and engage in a lively discussion concerning the topics covered in the class. The town hall meeting will be aired on the public television station run by Governors State University, which has an audience of approximately one million viewers.

If you would like more information concerning this unique and important work, feel free to contact me.