Sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Welcome to Voices of Veterans
Sometimes it can feel cliché to thank a veteran, like it’s something you’re just supposed to do — an obligation. Which is unfortunate.
That obligation minimizes what veterans actually go through, and what they continue to go through when they return from war.
When you sit down with a soldier and listen, hear their story, they have some pretty incredible insights, some that you’ll see unfold in our special series here, called Voices of Veterans. And as you’ll read, the act of telling their stories — of sharing and connecting — saves lives.
And that’s what our Voices series is all about — listening to Islanders as they tell their stories.
For the series, we meet the people where they are at. The stories are told in their own words — whatever they want to share. We’ve talked with Islanders struggling to find housing and those caught up in the “Island shuffle.” Others told us what their lives were like during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve also highlighted racism on the Island, and heard from survivors of addiction.
For the Voices of Veterans, we hear from an Islander who struggled with survivor’s guilt after returning from war, and how he learned to live with it; we hear from a Vietnam veteran about his return home, how he was spit at and called a baby killer; a wartime medic tells us about his job choosing which patients could survive and which they couldn’t help, and the impact that had on him psychologically. We also hear from some who took their pain and turned it into helping others.
And it isn’t just war stories. We hear from a mother and daughter who both served, who led the way for other women to serve in a male-dominiated field; we also hear from a career soldier who would recommend the service for anyone; and there’s a 100-year-old World War II veteran — the last of the Great Generation — with some insights you’ll be surprised by.
But perhaps most important to these stories, is that they give just a glimpse of what war is like, and why we should go to great lengths to avoid it. It’s easy for our elected officials to press the button, but the consequences of their decisions last for generations. That feels like it’s never been more important than today, with war seemingly breaking out across the world.
We’d like to thank the sponsors for this special section, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the M.V. Mediation Program. We couldn’t bring you these stories without their vital support. We’d also like to thank the museum for continuing to produce the exhibits and work they have for so long. In a way, the museum is in the same line of work we are: telling the stories that enrich our lives here on the Island. So we can’t thank them enough for their contributions to our efforts. And for all the work the Mediation Program does for families and organizations on the Island, helping to resolve conflict before it becomes seemingly insurmountable. They are fully qualified for conflict resolutions, whether its workplace conflicts, family and divorce mediation, and even helping victims of unfair or deceptive business practices.
We also would like to give a shoutout to the dedicated staff who contributed to the interviews on these stories — Eunki Seonwoo and Abigail Rosen.
So, take a moment and sit back and enjoy this series about your friends, town officials, neighbors, and fellow Islanders who have served their country.
— Managing editor, Connie Berry
— News editor, Sam Houghton