In this episode of The Neutral Ground Podcast, we begin our month-long conversation on how we can best support veterans in need of support. With the end of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, one of the most important things that we can do is make sure that we give ears to veterans so that they can begin to build narratives of their experiences. This is vital because having a strong narrative in place not only helps to build closure to one incredibly important part of their lives, but it also builds clarity of thought and a sense of peace. In this first episode of our four-part series, I'm going to lay the foundation for how history and literature have given us the tools to help. We just need to accept that the experiences are there. I go back to Homer and the Iliad and Odyssey to show how the site of glory needs to move at the end of conflicts from the field of battle to the domestic realm. We need to raise the level of communal engagement to the level of heroism. I also talk about James Joyce's Modernist take on the epic hero, and how listening and being there for others becomes a type of heroism. We also dive into arguably the most well-known author-veterans of World War I: Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway gives us a truthful but bleak vision of how difficult it can be for the soldier and the family to try and navigate great trauma in the home. However, I do think there is some hope there at the end. Finally, we take a look at a beautiful letter from a wife to her husband from the World War I era. If you’re a veteran who is struggling with mental health, or you know someone who is struggling, consider passing on the following information:
Cohen Veterans Network: https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: https://iava.org/homev3/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/
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