My student career during the early 1960's occurred at the peak of national divisiveness. Broadening citizens' rights were counter-balanced by cruel public blindness which accompanied veterans returning from the Indochinese wars, especially Vietnam. Today, the public seems to have relinquished its responsibility in America's military involvement in the Middle East. A comprehensive rationale eludes leaders who balance myth building with national self-interest. There is an escalation of suicides among returning military personnel due to the spiritual crisis of combat, multiple tours of duty for longer periods of time, and the unprecedented number of disabled service men and women. I am concerned by the silence on campus surrounding America's overseas commitments.
This exhibit is an acknowledgement of the human cost. It is a statement of hope that these people, educated in the humanist tradition of the liberal arts within the framework of Judeo-Christian tradition, can help focus military decisions affecting all our lives. Never have so many expectations been placed on the shoulders of so few. To you they are your friends or people you pass on campus, the athletes you cheer for or play with, the musicians, your fellow scholars. My ultimate goal would be to guarantee their acceptance regardless of their career choice, to welcome them back and enfold them willingly in the society they sought to serve.
Ann Martin March 2010