by Aimee Mepham, WFU Humanities Institute Program Coordinator
On Tuesday, April 12th, the Documentary Film Program and the Humanities Institute presented The Silence of War Film Screening and Discussion at the WFU Graduate School @ Brookstown. Faculty, students, community members, and many of the Veterans who participated in the project and their family members attended. Sharon Raynor, Associate Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University, former Visiting Associate Professor of English at WFU (2013-2014) whose work inspired the project, was also in attendance with members of her family.
The Silence of War was part of The Imagination Project, which brings undergraduate and graduate Documentary Film Program students together to work collaboratively on film and multimedia projects. Their work received a Humanities Matters grant from the Humanities Institute. Click here to read more about the generation of the project.
The event was introduced by the directors of the WFU Documentary Film Program, Cara Pilson and Cindy Hill. After a screening of part of the film, Breaking the Silence of War took place, a preview of The Silence of War website, set to launch in May 2016 was given by faculty and students who worked on the project. The website collects film, photographs, audio stories, maps, and timelines that viewers can explore, providing an immersive and comprehensive experience in learning about this specific group of Vietnam Veterans and putting the broader topics of the Vietnam War and PTSD in historical and cultural context.
Josh Harris (Documentary Film Program Graduate Student) and Luke Kohler (WFU ’16), both Veterans themselves, presented the “Brotherhood” section of the website and discussed how their participation in the project inspired them to want to be “better vets.”
Kohler, AT2 (AW) US navy, says, “As a Veteran, I felt very honored to explore the complex issues faced by these brave men. The Imagination Project helped me reflect on the importance of my fellow Veterans and the camaraderie we share in negotiating difficult issues regarding our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing after (military) separation.”
The event concluded with Pilson and Hill presenting the veterans who participated in the project with a commemorative photo book as well as a flash drive containing all of the photographs taken and collected during the project.
The Veterans and Their Wives:
Charles and Marie Helbig
Tex and Joann Howard
Robert Jones, Jr.
Louis and Katie Raynor
Anne Campbell Crockett