Dear Black Hills Veterans Writing Group,
I’m writing on behalf of a committee working to secure a grant which would allow us to host a series of programs in the Sturgis area surrounding veterans’ issues with special emphasis on those who served in Vietnam. We hope you can help support this effort by making a donation at this time.
Sturgis Area Arts Council and the Sturgis Public Library are collaborating with a diverse group of community leaders and veterans to facilitate this process. The grant, offered by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA,) centers around a novel titled The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, whose own tour of duty in Vietnam served as the inspiration for the book.
The committee has been working since last summer to develop programs that facilitate a conversation in our area focused on the unique cultural and social moment which was Vietnam. Further, and perhaps more importantly, we aim to acknowledge the effects of war on the veterans, their families, the nation, and our own communities. Through our work, it’s evident those effects are still being deeply felt and the lessons learned may be applied to better understanding those who served not only in Vietnam – but in every conflict since. These programs will be held between Labor Day and Veterans’ Day 2017. We are planning opportunities
For combat soldiers to tell their stories
For experts to explain warning signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
To learn the history and geography of the Vietnam conflict
For soldiers who served in other conflicts to compare their experiences
To meet Vietnamese immigrants to hear their stories
To participate in related art projects
To experience a USO sort of musical event
To discuss the novel in a variety of times and places
To hear keynote speaker, Dr. Jason McEntee, on war, literature and the healing professions
To explore the peace movement of the 1960s and 70s
To meet and hear author Tim O’Brien here in the Black Hills
Additionally, Tom Rancour of Armed Forces Display and Gifts has agreed to bring Vietnam era packs and the actual things they carried in the field for a program. SD Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, Larry Zimmerman, will speak at the program’s closure around Veterans Day 2017.
At this time, we are projecting a need for $7000 to match a grant of the same amount from the NEA. We would appreciate donations of any amount, which may be mailed to our address above or emailed through our web site. We are a 501C3 organization so all donations are tax deductible.
We hope to be one of the seventy-five communities in the country selected for this grant. If we are not approved, we are committed to bringing this important conversation to the Black Hills. Our proximity to Ft. Meade and the concentration of military bases in our area make us uniquely qualified to spearhead this work. We would be honored to count you among those helping to better understand and serve our veteran community.