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Group Readings give Veterans a Voice in Texas

May 24, 2013 | By Federal/State Partnership Staff

This Memorial Day, Humanities Texas, in conjunction with Texas Veterans’ Voices, will welcome veterans, their family and friends, and the general public to participate in group readings of ancient Greek texts at the Byrne-Reed House. Readings will include excerpts from Antigone, Women of Trachis, Philoctetes, Ajax, Herakles, and the Odyssey. A veteran-led discussion will follow the readings.

The Texas Veterans’ Voices project aims to give voice to veterans who find difficulty telling their stories to their family and friends. Ancient Greek dramas are used to engage veterans and their families in discussing difficult topics such as the trials of combat and stresses of returning to civilian life. The readings selected focus not only veterans’ feelings and emotions, but also those of loved ones left behind. Reading the pieces aloud in a group setting also helps bring about a greater understanding than if they were read silently or if they were read to participating veterans and family members. Paul Woodruff, Army veteran and a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, notes that “If you read Tecmessa's speech [from Ajax] about her husband's madness, for example, you will come to a close sense of what it is like to be married to a man with post-traumatic stress.”

The Memorial Day Veterans’ Voices event is free and open to the public, although space is limited and an RSVP is required. Please email rsvp[at]humanitiestexas[dot]org or call 512.440.1991 to RSVP.

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