Jose Narosky said, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” There are also no families of soldiers who are untouched when their soldier goes into combat. A price is paid by the military family, a price that while often noted is rarely fully appreciated.
Today, I was fortunate to be able to attend the staged reading of ReEntry at the V.A. Auditorium in Fargo. The cast consisted of six strong performers – Jay Olson, Keith Huff, Emily Clemenson, Taylor Schatz, Mary Cochran, and Monika Browne – and was directed by Brad Delzer. It was the result of a collaboration between Theatre B and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and supported by the American Legion, the University of North Dakota Social Work, and Bismarck State College Department of Theatre.
The performance today was many things, but it was not polite.
Nor was it apologetic.
It was genuine.
It was thought-provoking.
It was real.
Of course that makes sense. ReEntry created its script from actual interviews with Marines and their families. Interviews that captured truths that are best honored when they are shared aloud with others. Truths that were woven together across perspecives and experiences – truths that collectively created a powerful experience for those in the room. The moments, the thoughts, the statements of what is and what is not – all blended together to create a detailed portrait of the price of combat.
I had to wipe away tears a time or two during the performance. As the mother of a veteran the words echoed in my mind and found resonance in my soul. In the words of the soldiers and their family members came a commentary about loss, fear, honor, duty, identity, home, and despair. A commentary that quietly, but persistantly demanded your attention and acknowledgement. A commentary that was both humorous in its truisms and hauntingly somber in its reality.
I will never forget the power of that performance today. I will never forget the message in the words. Listen to the stories of the soldiers and their families – there are lessons we need to learn within them…lessons that cannot wait.
Day one thousand two hundred and thirty-two of the new forty – obla di obla da