Oregon Humanities Conversation Project – “Life After War.”

 http://oregonhumanities.org/programs/section/conversation-project/  http://www.lommassonpictures.com/
I am honored to be invited to participate in the Conversation Project forum at the Newport, Oregon Public Library on March 21, 2011 at 7:00pm.  The Oregon Humanities non-profit mission is to promote conversation and potentially action on the issues most important to citizens of the State of Oregon and to assist in research.  What is the Conversation Project?  The following is quoted from the above Oregon Humanities website.


“The Conversation Project provides nonprofits statewide with free humanities-based public programs about important issues and ideas. Programs are interactive rather than lecture- or performance-based, and are designed to improve understanding of diverse perspectives on a complex subject, rather than to find solutions to problems. Conversations are facilitated by some of Oregon’s leading humanities experts who connect discussion topics to participants’ experiences and to the local community. These Conversation Project leaders model critical thinking without advocating a particular political agenda. In the first two years of the program, more than 100 nonprofits across the state hosted more than 150 Conversation Project discussions as stand-alone programs, parts of a series, and supplements to their regular programming.”


In terms of the Conversation Project at the Newport Library and elsewhere, Jim Lommasson of Lommasson Pictures, above link, is conducting research on a very important subject and for his book, Exit Wounds: Life After War, Soldiers Stories.  The following is from Mr. Lommasson’s website link above.

“The soldier above all others prays for peace,
for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear
the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
–General Douglas MacArthur

Friday, June 11, 2010

EXIT WOUNDS: Soldiers’ Stories: Mission Statement

“As a society, we need to understand that a consequence of sending soldiers to war is that the war comes home with every veteran. Exit Wounds: Life After War – Soldiers’ Stories deals with the effects of the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing – in photographs and interviews — on returning American soldiers as they reintegrate into civilian life. It is an ongoing collaborative effort, documenting in images and words the personal experiences and stories of these veterans. In addition to their own experiences, they bring home first-hand knowledge of the impact of war on the civilians caught in the crossfire. The soldiers need to tell their stories, and we need to hear them. We must know the true consequences of their – of our — actions. We must take responsibility for the aftermath of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as at home.” 

Critical to the research of a subject of such great importance and sensitivity is to gather stories from the combat veterans and families who have experience with “life after war.”  In my own singular family story and book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, developing the 70 year legacy of my family’s challenges before and after WWII was difficult and painful, but absolutely necessary in understanding how wars affect our families, culture, and ultimately the social fabric of our nation.  Mr. Lommasson’s website offers the opportunity to provide input and the Conversation Project will help facilitate a personal discussion. The conversation is highly important to research; eventually improving public awareness and to potentially assist in developing better approaches that could help veterans and loved ones transition to a healthy and happy civilian life.  Most importantly, the long term impact of war must be understood more clearly because it indeed has a huge impact on the social fabric of cultures and societies everywhere.  Please go to the above websites and learn more, including supporting the conversation on one of the most critical issues of our time, “life after war.”


Steve Sparks
Author
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story