MU Event Encourages Veterans to Share Experiences

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COLUMBIA - During a month not known for celebrating veterans, The State Historical Society of Missouri partnered with the MU Veterans Center to celebrate veterans and encourage them to publish their own stories.

"I want people to think about veterans differently," said Jeff Corrigan, the SHSMO's oral historian.

The event took place Thursday night on the University of Missouri's campus.

The event started with the readings of the "Proud to be: Celebrating Veterans" book which includes the stories of different veterans and how they coped with conflict.

Veterans such as Gerardo Mena, Jay Harden, Susan Awartwout and Charles Brown read their published stories they wrote for the book. Jeff Corrigan said he hoped this evening would encourage veterans to submit their stories for the future volumes of the book. The first volume won the Stars and Stripes Award.

"I don't want people to think of veterans and only see uniforms," said Corrigan.He wanted to also share the poetry, paintings, and special artifacts concerning veterans.

There was an open house at the main corridor with military artifacts such as a ceremonial saber made by Tiffany's and an artifact used in World War II to send messages in the heels of pigeons.

The event fell nowhere near Veteran's Day, which is celebrated in November.

"After November, people forget about veterans...and I don't like that," said Corrigan. That is why they chose the month opposite of November and planned to celebrate the soldiers' stories at a time they are not specially remembered.

The event also included paintings, books, the book signing of "Proud to Be: Celebrating Veterans," and photographs from veterans.

The two sponsors, The State Historical Society of Missouri and the MU Veterans Center, partnered up with the Missouri Humanities Council, the SEMO University Press, and the MU Army ROTC to put on the event.

Some members of ROTC, mostly MU junior and senior students, attended the event to hear the stories of the veterans before they join the military in a few years.