Discussion Groups for Veterans


“A Soldier’s Place: Veterans and Civilians Speaking About War,” is a collaborative project between faculty in National University’s College of Letters and Sciences, Veteran Center, and veteran-student alumni to conduct a training and discussion program under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities Dialogues on the Experiences of War Program. The project uses humanities sources to achieve two goals: first, to explore war and the themes of trauma, loyalty, heroism, and homecoming and their effects on individuals and societies and, second, to develop a space for veterans and others to have meaningful conversations through facilitated discussions focused on the sources. With a repertoire of epic poetry, narrative non-fiction, military biography, film, and memoir, the humanities provide important intellectual and cultural frames which can give veterans and civilians the perspective they need in order to understand better war and its impact on individuals and society.

NEH Discussion Leaders serve as group facilitators for veterans and civilians who are interested in studying and understanding war.
From January to May 2021, National University, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, hosted two discussion groups that met vi-weekly via Zoom to read and discuss humanities sources and share stories.
Dr. Henry Venter, Dept. Psychology, National University, explains the importance of preparing NEH Discussion Leaders

Discussion Participants share their poetry, stories and other writings

Poet activist and Soldier’s Place participant R. G. Cantalupo reads his poem Want. Ross is war veteran who was awarded three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor for courage under fire. He graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz where he studied under George Hitchcock, editor of Kayak, Gregory Bateson, and Norman O. Brown, and received his MFA in Poetry and non-fiction from Vermont College of the Fine Arts. His books include: No Thanks, Walking Water On Earth, The Art of Naming, and The Endurance: Journey To Worlds End, a lyric novel, You Don’t Know Me, a novel, The Light Where Shadows End, and The Last Unknown Soldier.
Author and A Soldier’s Place participant Susan Dixon reads a passage from her book, Seeking Quan Am, a dual memoir about her experience as an anti-war activist and Mark M. Smith’s account as a Vietnam veteran.
Author and A Soldier’s Place participant John Ketwig, reads passages from his books “… and a hard rain fell” and “Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter.” His focus in on war financing and its impact on society.
Author and A Soldier’s Place participant Jack Mallory, reads a short story, “The Little Girl at my Door.” The story was written as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities project and it was originally published in The Veteran, Spring 2020 (Volume 50, Number 1).

I invite you to learn more about the project at https://nu.libguides.com/nehvetproject. Please note that applications for participation are now closed.

Program flyer