Events

The Conflicting Legacies of the Vietnam War: Why They Still Matter, Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m., Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall, UMass:

In observance of the 40th Anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. military forces from America’s most controversial war, the UMass History Department and the Veterans Education Project present a teach-in panel with History Professor Chris Appy, Vietnam veterans, and anti-war activists. The evening’s examination of the war and its varied legacies will include panelists sharing personal wartime and home front experiences, and a discussion of why and how, 40 years after it ended, the Vietnam War still affects our government and our national psyche. In addition to Professor Appy (author of the just published “American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity), speakers are Wayne Smith (Vietnam veteran, veterans’ advocate and activist), Cherie Rankin (U.S. Red Cross, South Vietnam, 1970-71), Randy Kehler (An activist who spent 22 months in federal prison for refusing to cooperate with the Vietnam draft) and Tom Weiner (Author of “Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft,” Vietnam anti-war activist). Free admission

Biographies of panelists:

Chris Appy is a Umass Amherst History professor and the author of three critically acclaimed books about the American War in Vietnam: American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Viking, 2015); Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides (Viking, 2003), and Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (University of North Carolina Press, 1993). Patriots won the Massachusetts Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2004. Chris also edits a book series for the University of Massachusetts Press called “Culture, Politics, and the Cold War.” He teaches a popular course on the Vietnam War at UMass and has taught at Harvard and MIT. He lives in Amherst.

Cherie Rankin served a year in Vietnam (1970 and 71) with the U.S. Red Cross. Her story of service in Vietnam is featured in the book In The Combat Zone: An Oral History of American Women in Vietnam, by Kathryn Marshall. Cherie was very active in the ten year effort to build the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall, which was dedicated in November, 1993. She has had an ongoing interest in helping women that have served in or with the military to tell their stories and be recognized for their contributions. This has included helping to organize two national conferences in conjunction with the Joiner Center at UMass Boston and with Veterans for Peace, several workshops about sexual trauma experienced by women during their service. Cherie and her husband, Chris Myers (VN 1967/68, USAID) returned to Vietnam in 1990, with the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project to build a clinic outside of Hanoi. They are both speakers for VEP and reside in Franklin County.

Wayne Smith served two tours as an Army medic in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division, in the 1970s. His past employment includes V.A. Vets Center counselor, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund advocate and fundraiser, advisor at the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, President of the Black Patriots Foundation and, most recently on the executive staff of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in Cambridge, MA. Retired, Wayne is on the Board of the National Veterans Legal Service Program’s and an Advisor with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He is a survivor of a cancer that he attributes to his exposure during combat missions to Agent Orange. In 1998 he returned to Vietnam with other veterans on a reconciliation mission. He and his wife have a daughter and live in the Greater Boston area.

Randy Kehler spent 22 months in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate with the Vietnam draft. State Department whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg credits Randy with inspiring him to publicly release the “Pentagon Papers,” a secret history of the Vietnam War. He has shared his stories of Vietnam era activism in a variety of VEP programs. Among other things, Randy is a co-founder of the Traprock Peace Center (Deerfield, MA); the Franklin County (MA) Community Development Corporation; and national projects such as the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and, most recently, the political theater program called Project Unspeakable (national). Randy and his wife Betsy Corner live in Colrain, MA. As conscientious objectors to war, they redirect their federal income tax payments to non-military humanitarian programs, including relief for U.S. soldiers and other war victims disabled or in need.

Tom Weiner is the author of CALLED TO SERVE: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft. Tom, who was drafted and called for a physical in 1971, tells the story of what happened to him and 31 of the other men and women veterans, military family members, counselors, conscientious objectors, and resisters he interviewed. Ten of the interviews have been adapted into a play, “The Draft,” by prize-winning playwright, Peter Snoad. Its September premier in Boston will be followed by performances in the Valley. Tom is a 6th grade teacher and on the board of the Paulo Friere Social justice High School in Holyoke, MA. He is married, father of four children, and lives in Northampton.

Event moderator Thomas Fricke is the head of the Social Studies Dept. at Amherst-Pelham Regional H.S. He teaches a very popular unit on the Vietnam war and era that features presentations by VEP speakers. Tom is a VEP Board member.

Partial listing of past events:

Understanding and Healing War’s Deepest Wounds: Thursday, April 9th, at 7 p.m., Seelye Hall, #106, Smith College  Poster 4-9-15 Smith VEP Understanding and Healing War’s Wounds

Three authors of recent books who examine war trauma and healing from different perspectives share their work and join our moderator in a discussion on the challenge that faces us all: to help our veterans come back whole to themselves, their families, and their community. The authors are Mark Nickerson, LICSW (The Wounds Within: A Veteran, a PTSD Therapist, and a Nation Unprepared), Robert Meagher, PhD (Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War), and Ed Tick, PhD (Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War). Moderated by Dr. Kathryn Basham, Co-Director of PhD Program, the Smith College School for Social Work. Veterans, military family members, members of the helping professions, the Smith College Community and the general public all are invited. Sponsored by the Smith College School for Social Work and the Veterans Education Project.

More information on the authors, the books and the moderator:

Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War (Cascade Books), by Robert E. Meagher. Any serious critique of war, as well any true attempt to understand the profound, invisible wounds it inflicts, will be undermined from the outset by the unthinking and all-but-universal acceptance of just war doctrine. Killing from the Inside Out radically questions that theory, examines its legacy, and challenges us to look beyond it, beyond just war. The author, a Hampshire College professor and religion scholar, has directed and participated in a range of events and programs concerned with healing the spiritual wounds of war in veterans, their families, and their communities. This, his latest book, has been widely praised by leading therapists, military and VA chaplains, veterans, and active duty military. Visit http://www.moralinjuryandjustwar.org.

The Wounds Within: A Veteran, a PTSD Therapist, and a Nation Unprepared (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015), by Mark I. Nickerson and Joshua S. Goldstein. This is an inside account of the iconic case of Marine Lance Corporal Jeff Lucey, a Belchertown MA vet whose battle with PTSD ended when he took his life after returning home from the early months of the Iraq War. Nickerson, an internationally recognized expert on trauma treatment who saw Jeff through his private practice, also examines the Lucey family’s decade-long campaign to improve a VA suicide prevention response that had failed Jeff and to end the stigma around military-related mental health issues. This book is a definitive account of combat trauma and a vital resource for military families and anyone who works with and cares about veterans. Visit http://www.woundswithin.com.

The Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War (Sounds True), by Edward Tick. In spite of billions spent on psychological care and reintegration programs, we face an epidemic of combat-related conditions such as PTSD. With Warrior’s Return, Tick presents a powerful case for changing the way we welcome our veterans back from service and offers a vision and a path for transforming the wounds of war into sources of wisdom, honor, and growth. Tick draws on 35 years of experience working with veterans, lessons from cross-cultural wisdom and mythical archetypes, and proven psychology methods. His book is a resource to help families, caregivers, and veterans understand and cope with the life-changing effects of combat. Tick is a co-founder of Soldier’s Heart, an organization based in Troy, N.Y. (with an office in Amherst) that provides a comprehensive model to address the emotional, moral, and spiritual wounds of veterans, their families and communities. Visit http://www.soldiersheart.net/resources.

Event moderator Kathryn Basham, LICSW, Ph.D. — in addition to co-directing the Doctoral Program at the Smith College School of Social Work— engages in research, writing, clinical social work practice and education related to the effects of deployment and combat stress on the re-integration of service members, Veterans and their families. She currently is working on an independent research project on a brief couple therapy approach for military and Veteran couples who work with licensed independent clinical social workers in the local community. She has been appointed to three congressionally mandated committees with the Institute of Medicine at the National Academies of Science charged to explore issues related to enhancing the mental health treatment of military and Veteran families.

Co-sponsors include: Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Northwestern District Attorney’s Veterans Justice Partnership, Soldier’s Heart, Western Mass. Veterans Outreach Project, Northampton First Churches Peace and Justice Committee, Wesley United Methodist Church Council, Northampton-Florence Unitarian Society Social Justice Committee, Amherst Unitarian Universalist Society

Moral Injury: Examining War’s Deepest Wound and Darkest Contradiction Thursday, April 24, 7p.m., Forbes Library, Northampton: From antiquity to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, just war doctrine has provided decisive moral justification for the waging of war. The doctrine is intended to limit war, yet oftentimes it has served to unleash it and, at the same time, deeply confused and complicated the moral injury of combatants. This panel will feature four speakers (three are veterans, two clergy) exploring the fundamentals of moral injury and just war, asking important questions that seldom are addressed. How can there be moral injury in just war? Is it moral, under any circumstances, to sanction killing? Is there any such thing as just war? How are armed services personnel in war zones coping with perceived contradictions in just war doctrine? What are the potential connections between moral injury and the high number of military suicides? What roles are religious institutions, military chaplains, and civilian clergy playing (and not playing) in resolving these contradictions and healing the spiritual wounds and moral injuries of war? How can these institutions do better?

• Capt. Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who has written about moral injury for the Washington Post and other publications
• The Reverend David Whiteley, UCC chaplain for the Leeds VA Medical Center
• The Very Reverend James Munroe, an Episcopal priest, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, Vietnam veteran
• Professor Robert Meagher, Hampshire College, who has spoken and written extensively about moral injury and Just War. His latest book is Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War (forthcoming, Fall 2014).

This event made possible thanks to the support of the MassHumanities Foundation, the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice, and the donors of the Veterans Education Project

The Lonely Soldier Project: testimony from women at war in Iraq, by Helen Benedict. Performances will be on Veteran’s Day Weekend:  Friday 8th & Saturday 9th November at 6pm & 8pm, at First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton.

Specialist Maria Sanchez, Tiahna Harris       Sergeant Terris Dewalt-Johnson, Trenda Leftin     Specialist Anna Peterford,  Robyn Spateholts    Sergeant Miriam Ruffolo, Brianna Sloane      Sergeant First Class Santiaga Flores,  Hala Lord. Presented by Moving Words and the Veterans Education Project.

 When Survivors Tell Their Stories: The untold story about sexual assault in the military:  Monday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  Author Helen Benedict discusses her research and writing about what was, until recently, one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: an epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S. military. Her book, The Lonely Soldier, along with her articles, play and her novel, Sand Queen, publicly exposed the high incidence of rape in the military and documented how traditional military culture enables assault. Benedict’s work also revealed the untold stories of veterans who still struggle with the emotional aftermath abuse of their military experience, inspiring the 2013 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” which will be screened at Hampshire Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. Marianne Winters, the Executive Director of Safe Passage, a Northampton domestic violence intervention and prevention organization, and Beverly Prestwood Taylor, director of the Brookfield Inst., a group that works with women veterans, will make brief comments after Benedict’s Monday presentation.  Helen Benedict Poster

The Invisible War: Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m., East Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  The first public Pioneer Valley screening of the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” a groundbreaking piece of investigative film making that paints a startling picture of the extent of rape in the military and offers a powerful indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes. Today, female soldiers serving in combat zones are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. At the heart of “The Invisible War” are moving interviews that chronicle the struggles of rape survivors struggling to rebuild their lives and fight for justice, both for themselves and for women in the military. The New York Times called the 2013 Oscar-nominated work “one of the ten best films of the year.” Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering credit the writing and research of Helen Benedict as the inspiration for their documentary. Benedict, who is speaking at Hampshire College on Monday evening, April 8, will comment on the film and answer questions following the Hampshire screening. Army veteran Judy Atwood Bell, who was sexually assaulted while in the military, will participate in the discussion. Bell has been diagnosed and treated for Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She now is an advocate for policy changes in the military to help protect women from harassment and assault. Invisible War Poster

These events are co-sponsored by the Veterans Education Project, Hampshire College Humanities Faculty, Hampshire College Spiritual Life, Safe Passage, NELCWIT, the Brookfield Institute, The Office of the District Attorney/Northwestern District, the Veterans Justice Partnership, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, the Center for Women and Community, GCC Peace, Justice and Environmental Studies, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, and Voice Male Magazine.  For more information call VEP at 413-253-4947, or email vep@crocker.com.

Helen Benedict will be interviewed on the Bill Newman Morning Show, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., on Tuesday morning, April 9, WHMP, 1400 on your AM dial.

Deerfield Academy: Theater of War   This acclaimed production, which has played to over 200 audiences internationally, will combine readings from Classical Greek theater by professionals with a panel of war veterans and military family members sharing their first-person insights about the realities of going to war, homecoming, and the human costs of war. (May 2012)

Eric Carle Museum: Double Victory: Negro League Baseball, the segregated Army and the struggle to integrate America   Award winning art work and veterans’ oral histories are the vehicles we will use to explore the legacies of segregation and celebrate the achievements that set the stage for the civil rights victories of the 50s and 60s. (May 2012)

WRITERS PROJECT OVERVIEW  

 Local Fall Events 2011Northampton Community Read Events with On The Same Page, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

  Forbes Library www.forbeslibrary/OTSP

At UMASS Amherst:    WAR VETERANS – A Commemoration through Art, Theater, Literature, and Film  The VEP is proud to be participating in this exciting collaboration with the UMass Fine Arts Center, the Springfield Vet Center, the UMass Student Center Art Gallery, and UMass Veteran Services.  We will be co-sponsoring a series of public events at UMass in November, 2011, that respond to the war experience through media such as visual art, theater, photography, and poetry. Many of the featured artists will be veterans.

View newsletter articles on past VEP events

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