Please take a few moments and read the words of Bill McMillan and his wife, Kim.
Two everyday people, doing extraordinary deeds!
We began working on the Welcome Home Project, a retreat and public welcome home ceremony and performance for vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam in late 2007. (see: www.thewelcomehomeproject.org) My wife, Kim, and I are both civilians but felt a deep sense of frustration at the disconnect that seems to exist between us and returning vets, their stories, their difficulties and triumphs, and the reality of what it takes for veterans and their families upon the return. There are plenty of news stories and in general the reception by our society is much improved over what the Vietnam Vets had to deal with, but something felt out of whack because there was no personal connection and there was, and is, still a lot of political noise that gets in the way of the human part of this. So we chose to get involved. It wasn't hard to do and the enthusiastic response by friends and strangers who heard about what we were doing showed us that a huge percentage of the population out there wants to feel connected and to be a part of this, the aftermath of war, as well. They just didn't know how to go about it. When we created a way, they jumped on and hundreds of civilians in this community were deeply affected by the poetry and stories told by the veterans at the gathering on Memorial Day. The documentary we are working to edit is about healing and PTSD. But healing looks different than "curing" when talking about war and Post Traumatic Stress. While the pain of the veterans and their families is obvious when talking about war, the problem for us civilians is much more subtle. The emotional distance most of us civilians feel about what is being done in our names, right or wrong, is debilitating to all of us and also perpetuates a cold distance between us and the men and women who served, as well as their families. This is incredibly sad and it also perpetuates the distance and isolation many vets feel upon returning. All of us need to share in this, not as a punishment but as a willing acceptance of the truths that come home to us. And, as this documentary will show, all of us will benefit from this reconnection to our veteran brothers and sisters. There is huge wisdom in these men and women, all of them transformed by their experiences, now ready to offer an understanding of the delicate reality of life and death, the depth of connection possible between us, and the need for all of us to look past politics and to see each other simply as human beings. That will begin to heal the whole society. We just need help to spread the word, so please check out the website and pass the word!
The Welcome Home Project