“Together We Served”…Steve & Judy Sparks interview with Circe Woessner, Executive Director, Museum of the American Military Family, Albuquerque, New Mexico…click highlighted text for podcast…
Images of Museum of the American Military Family…click highlighted text…
Included in the above “images” link is an image of a post card from my father, Vernon, sent home to St. Paul in 1936 when serving on his first ship, the USS Tennessee… click the highlighted text… Dad was age 17 when he joined the US Navy in 1936. He retired in 1958 following 22 years of service, including WWII and Korean War…
“The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center brings together people with shared experiences showcasing and honoring those who also served—American’s Military Families. The Museum is gathering artifacts and recollections from American military families who served through war and peace in past decades and those who serve today in anticipation of the creation of a permanent facility in Albuquerque that will celebrate their lives and sacrifices for generations to come. For more information, please visit www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org. For more information on the exhibition, visit www.nuclearmuseum.org…”
Judy and I were very honored to participate recently during the opening ceremony of the Museum of the American Military Family, “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The interview podcast was recorded just before the start of my book reading for Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. Judy and I were asked to talk briefly about intergenerational PTSD, often a lifetime challenge for the children and families of warriors. The interview was a conversation about my experience as a military child of a father who served in hard combat, and my family’s journey of healing in life after trauma.
Museum of the American Military Family…”We Served Too…” Quote from this website… “Through this exhibit, the community can see history through a different filter, relive their own military roots, open dialogue between generations, and leave with a deeper appreciation of what it means to serve as a military family. This is an opportunity for visitors to experience a unique part of history, their history, in many cases — their complete story–the joy and pain, the sorrow, and the sacrifice…”
“Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family” is a special exhibit that will open Memorial Day, May 26, and run through August 31 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.
This inspiring exhibition celebrates America’s rich military history through the voices of America’s military families. Through written word and interactive elements, visitors will experience the joy, the sorrow and the sacrifice of America’s steadfast and unsung heroes, the military family.
There is no additional admission cost to view the exhibit beyond regular Museum admission; $8 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors.
I am honored as a former US Navy military child and Vietnam era veteran, to participate in the Museum of the American Military Family Memorial Day exhibit “Sacrifice and Service.” My story as a child of a US Navy WWII and Korean War combat veteran is painful. America’s combat veterans from all wars up to and including Vietnam were from the “go home and forget about it” and “suck it up” culture. Not because we wanted to ignore the moral injury and invisible wounds of war sustained by American soldiers and sailors who protected the freedoms of Americans, it was because we were ignorant of the lasting emotional damage in life after war. Medical science did not define or measure the mental health effects of war until around 1980 following the Vietnam War. Until recently we did not recognize how war affected the entire military family, especially children, often for a lifetime.
“We served too” has a special meaning to me. I am proud of my father’s honorable and heroic service during WWII and the Korean War. I am proud to have been a military child from a US Navy family where my mother served too as a single mom during all WWII and as the life long caregiver for my father. I am proud to have served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era. And, I am especially proud to be an American. I am also now well aware of how war affects the bodies, minds and souls of warriors like my father, including the families, who served America with honor, duty and pride. I am especially aware of how the American military family served as caregivers to the men and women who returned home following long and multiple deployments in hard combat. It is with this knowledge and awareness that my own journey of healing includes helping others become educated on the lingering effects and on-going treatment of moral injury and Post-Traumatic Stress on the military family.
I am looking forward to a full schedule of book readings, discussions, and interaction with visitors attending the Museum of the American Military Family “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit on May 31st and June 1st at the Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. It is a high honor and privilege to share my personal experience and body of work to help others know more of their own family’s proud but sometimes painful military history and service to America…
As a gift to the Museum of the American Military Family and the upcoming “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit, following is a short poem reflecting heartfelt thoughts about my post WWII and Korean War experience as a US Navy military child. “We served too!”
Mother always told Dad we were bad while he was away at sea.