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Poetry and War

Tomorrow on The Journal, author Maxine Hong Kingston talks with Bill Moyers about poetry and war:

"My hope is that through art, through telling their stories, by having people hear what they went through, it changes them again," Kingston tells Bill Moyers. "There's the coming home from war, being broken, feeling losses, but then there is a wholeness that takes place if the person were able to write their story, to write their poem, to have people hear them and listen and understand. Then they are changed again."

For nearly 15 years Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. This poem is one of the many works created by the veterans:

Poem for Têt
by Ted Sexauer, medic, 173rd Airborne

Lang Cô village, Viêt Nam
Lunar New Year, 31/1/1995

This is the poem
that will save my life
this the line that will cure me
this word, this, the word word the one

this breath the one I am.

(more from "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace")

Feel free to share your stories with the blog community below.


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Comments

January 05, 2010
Thank you, Mr. Bill Moyers, and everyone at The Journal and PBS for interviewing Ms. Maxine Hong Kingston on May 25, 2007 and making the transcript and video available on that site. Thanks for reading excerpts from Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace with Maxine. Each story/poem written by the veteran or loved one of a veteran carried much compassion. The book–-what a magnificent gift from Maxine and the courageous men and women who transformed their suffering into what I call "word energy."

The interview and the excerpts got me thinking about my mom who was an orphan in China during WWII. She never talked about her experiences; at times a word would slip out, but, she would stop herself. She died in 2000 and I would like to believe that she's watching over me, encouraging me to write for people who cannot speak for themselves.

Maxine had inspired me to write my first book when in 1990 I read Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. http://www.redroom.com/author/maxine-hong-kingston has other videos on Maxine and her work. Thanks again for the May 25, 2007 program.

Sincerely,
Teresa LeYung Ryan, author, writing-career coach
http://LoveMadeOfHeart.com
http://writingcoachteresa.wordpress.com/
http://www.redroom.com/author/teresa-leyung-ryan

I cannot believe the book I am now reading. I cannot believe that it has been published. It is endorsed by Bill Moyers.

All I can say is get it now, all language fails me even though I was a hyperbole major in college.

FAMILY OF SECRETS;THE BUSH DYNASTY, THE POWERFUL FOCES THAT PUT IT IN THE WHITE HOUSED, AND WHAT THEIR INCFLUENCE MEANS FOR AMERICA BY RUSS BAKER.

THIS GUY HAS THE RIGHT KIND OF CREDENTIALS. BEYOND A MUST, ITS A HERNIATED CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE!

yeah good but you need some more about WAR
from Amba Deed

My outfit, the Japanese American 100th Inf Bn WII, was the most decorated outfit in American military history. The truth is, we were not fierce, flag waving, superpatriotic heroes. We were full of anger, not against the Germans, but against those people who cheered us on like we were football heroes. The "Support the Troops" idiocy and blindness has a lot to do with the ill treatment of our wounded and traumatized soldiers. Truthfully my deepest "arigato" to Maxine Hong Kingston and Bill Moyers.
Don Matsuda

I was in the USN 1965-69. I wasn't in Vietnam, I was sent the other direction, but I enlisted because of the war. After a couple years I realized that the President, the military leaders and the media were lying about it all. I was profoundly offended by that so I became an antiwar activist while I was still in the service. And here we are again. I really enjoyed, REALLY enjoyed, the Journal interview with Maxine Hong Kingston. I took notes! I'll buy her writings. I'll continue to watch Bill Moyers.

Greetings and thank you for sharing with the nation this conversation between Bill Moyers and Maxine Hong Kingston. How moving and rich was this evening between two such beautiful people such as these.

My husband is a Viet Nam marine veteran who has been writing for the last ten years about his experiences in Viet Nam as well as his work with the homeless in Santa Barbara, California. He has worked as a social worker for the last thirty years and has been awarded numerous awards for his work as he is a deeply committed man in service to his fellow human beings. This is what drove him to enlist in the marines and serve his country.

I would like to send a copy his recently published novel entitled China White to Bill Moyers. I am not sure of the format and how to send it but am hoping you can help me with this. If there is a way of emailing Mr. Moyers, I would very much like to know that address, if possible.

Thank you so much for such a heartfelt program about poetry and war and the Veterans of Peace, Veterans of War segment. It was extremely moving for my husband and many, many others.

Sincerely,

Donna Williams
Santa Barbara, California

Dear Bill, Thank you so very much for all you have done and are doing for Reason and Democracy in our country and the world at large.
My comment addresses the recent controversy over the swearing-in process in our country. Simply put: Why do we not use a copy of the United States Constitution & Bill of Rights? Based on our Founding Fathers vision and our country's secular nature, we should not be using any religion's textbook. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Patte Lanus

Born in 1937 I grew up in Nazi occupied Netherlands, just outside Zwolle, where my family was very active in The Resistance. I got to see WW II "up close and personal." The Maxine Kingston interview spoke to me very directly and I have always identified with the experience of Viet Nam veterans.

My grandfather was a combat engineer in the 92nd, a black division. I find it unutterably contemptuous that black soldiers are still, to this day, systematically excluded from the "memory" of WWII. My grandfather fought in North Africa, D-Day, and liberated Auschwitz. He has complained little about this humiliation; if I could be half the man he is , then I'd be twice any man today. Imagine surviving the horrors of Hitler's racism, then coming home to face the racist horrors of the country you call home. I respect, and always will respect Bill Moyers and PBS, but are not the deaths of my grandfather's friends worth something? Shame on this country.

an excellent expression of the human side of war. where can i get a video copy please?

ellen hamill

It would be an Honor if you can enter this letter to your site. My Dad Eusebio Galvan was with the 1st. Div. 16th INF. Easy Company in WWII.. Thank you

Sgt. Galvan,

Greetings and apologies for the delay.

Yes, I'm glad to include both Silver Star citations on your dad's page. You'll see the revised page at the link...

(1)

http://warchronicle.com/16th_infantry/soldierstories_wwii/Galvansilverstar.htm

(2)

http://www.combatleadership.com/Heroes_Subcat.asp?medaltype=5&campaign=2


All the best to you and your family,

David Allender
WarChronicle


-----Original Message-----
From: jsgalv@juno.com
To: Warchronicle@AOL.com
Sent: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 2:15 PM
Subject: SSgt. Eusebio Galvan

Hello,
First I would Like to say Thank You for Posting My Dad Second Silver Star Citation... He was a member of the 1st. Div.16th Inf. Easy Co. during WWII...
You also have one of his buddies Joseph A. Toth listed with his Two Citation...

This may be a first for you, I would like to bring to your attention that my My Dad Eusebio Galvan was a Private and earned his first Silver with TSGT. Toth on August 3rd, 1943....

You can find Both of them on the web site I enclosed.
http://warchronicle.com/units/US/1st/citations/WWII.htm

TSGT Toth Citation is listed on the 2th Document.

And My Dad Eusebio Galvan is listed on the 4th Document.

There were Other's who EARNED won there Siver Stars in that same engagement. You can find there names on the Remainding Documents on this web page...

Henry W. Shoup, and Chester J. Makaymowicz.. Earn theres Posthumously.

THANK YOU..

Sgt. Joseph R. Galvan USAF


I AM 73 Y3ARS OLD AND WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MY DEAR UNCLE ANDREW BAHNKEN REMEMBERED.IN WORLD WAR 2 INSTEAD OF DIGGING FOX HOLES IN THE RAIN HIS TROOPS WERE TOLD TO CHECK OUT GLIDERS FOR THE NIGHT. UPON EXITING HE JUMPED ON A LAND MIND AND LOST HIS LEGS. HE WAS BEING SENT HOME WITH 23 OTHER STRECHER CASES WHEN HIS PLANE WENT DOWN SOME WHERE BETWEEN NUFENLIN AND ICELAND. NEVER TO BE FOUND. GOD BLESS THEM ALL

Thank You Bill Moyers for having Maxine on your show tonight. I am a trauma survivor that has started to heal through writing my feelings. Watching this show has given me permission to continue on my journey in writing to heal my pain. Netanya

I would like to share my favorite Basho haiku.

Summer grasses--
all that remains of soldiers'
imperial dreams

Thank you Bill and Maxine for caring and sharing.
Phyllis C

Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston

I am deeply affected by the reverence, support and honor Ms. Kingston pays to those us who have experienced trauma too unspeakable, even in a low whisper, that causes the body and soul teeter on the borderline of madness, insanity, and depression where secrets abound.

I am moved how Ms. Kingston's writers share their truth; how they are working through the puzzlement and befuddling argeous task of re joining the slivers and shards of whom they once were coupled together with whom they have become.

Ms. Kingston's work provides a much needed forum for aiding in the healing process which offers a promise of reframing one's world that they may create their own Picasso, retrospective of life before, during, and after their life changing event. She offers a methodology of support so that veterans of peace, and other trauma survivors, may repaint the canvas of our lives by using words and imagination to heal our fractured physical, psychic (ego), and emotional selves.

"I once was lost but now I'm found, t'was blind but now I see." Post-traumatic stress turned my world inside out and upside down to the point where I was a mere shell of my former self. Some days I experience "the peace that passes all understanding" as a whole person, on my path toward completeness -- however, in an instant, I may be triggered by present events that resemble shards of my past that cause my momentary peace to fade into a state of being lost again (abandonment depression).

Slowly, I am gaining the courage to pick up the shattered pieces, at least those that I can find, so I can reassemble my life into a unified ego-state I call "ME."

Be it war with brick, mortar, and/or other torturous, heinous acts against humanity or trauma experienced on the home front from sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, the effects are the same. I reflect on the saying, "time heals all wounds." I ask, does it?

Your interview has helped me bring my voice forward so my whispers may now be turned into words of hope where once there was only a speck, a dim flicker, waning, wondering, is there life after trauma for me.

Sincerely,

Karen H. Greenwald

Happy Memorial Day? I don't think Memorial Day is a very festive time at all... Perhaps any happiness in it is reserved for those veteran survivors seeking joy from tipping a few, as they escape the grim memories of those wars, beyond just WW-1 and 2... Then remember now those friends long fallen, brothers in arms... Joining the ranks of many ghosts, as will not one, but all, in due time... Marching to the ever pounding drum-beat of life, and death, marching in cadence never breaking ranks... A most wonderful thing about grand Heaven.. There is no need for guns, bullets, grenades, helmets, bombs, dog tags, or tanks... For that tender mercy may we say, oh my dear God, thanks!

We are at war, again? Oh My God no... Woe, and alas, truly woe is cast down upon us all now! Truly woeful... The songs of the heart begin to sound flat, quite out of key... Oh my dear God please shed mercy on me... Spare me great Father, the one who hears all, deliver me from the damned, the wicked, so I may stand tall... A warrior of the heart, who once fought in wars for his land... One final battle I face boldly, brave, reverent, and true, ever proudly I stand... Oh my dear God may I die fighting, ever guarding you... I may have grown questionable of my country, but never in thee...

I am eighty six years old and can remember how we felt that the United Nations would be able to overcome the obstacles faced by the league of Nations. We thought it would be impossible for countries to go to war again after the devastation of World War 2. How wrong we were! Eisenhower had it right when he warned against the military-industrial complex, which is now so fully entrenched that it will take a miracle to put an end to it. I hope that some people who write to this site will have some positive suggestions how this can be done. I probably won't see it in my life time, but I hope my grandchildren will live long enough to see a world at peace.

Ms. Kingston, Thank goodness there are people like you who promote peace through the arts. I have stuggled to find peace for what I did and didn't do in Vietnam when I was only 19 years old and had been taught to kill. From the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 the images of my experiences in the Vietnam are more vivid now years later. Too many people do not understand the horrors of the battlefield, but through your efforts there is hope for me to make peace with my soul and become more active in peacemaking for the generations to come.

Dear Mr Moyers, I am a non-combatant veteran of Vietnam--I was there from July 1965 to July 1966. I have often said over the past 40 years that during that year we were given 3 different reasons for being there. 1. We have to stop them there before they attack us here (on the Pacific coast). 2. We have to support democracy there. 3. We can't leave now, because we are here and America has never lost a war. We can't permit defeat. It did not seem really important at the time that 1. the North Vietnamese had few ships and fewer planes (no way to get to the Pacific coast), 2.there was no democracy in South Vietnam,only military rule (with no concept of democracy, and 3. we had already lost in Korea -- and we were not going to win by staying in Vietnam.I used to joke that the reason we were there changed twice. What didn't change was that we were still there. Two nights ago I watched Richard Engel's video diary of his four years in Iraq on MSNBC. Near the end he told about how some soldiers had been given three different reasons why they were there. 1. We have to fight them in Iraq rather than here. 2. We have to protect and help a democratic government. 3. If we leave in defeat, there will be chaos, and the enemy will be stronger.We were arrogant about our power when we went into Vietnam. It felt the same when we went into Iraq. In the words of the now old protest song, "when will they ever learn? When will they...ever learn?" And the flowers are still "gone to soldiers, every one". Rodney Porter

I am no stranger to writing, and no stranger to healing either. Indeed, the two acts may be one and the same.

I applaud Mr. Moyers and Ms. Hong Kingston for excellent efforts in their respective professions: quality journalism, quality caring for others.

With each passing year, Memorial Day has become a day of deeper reflection. Every spring I attend the small parade and ceremony in our New England village to listen to the tributes paid to those who have fallen in service to our country and to preserve our way of life.

As I mourn their passing, I can't help but weep for humankind, because we still have not learned that the negotiating table is preferable to the battlefield to resolve our differences.

As a young man, I enlisted in the US Coast Guard to provide humanitarian service to my country during the Vietnam conflict. Thirty years later, my son did the same.

I am proud of him, thankful for those who served and continue to serve, and distraught that as a species we have yet to take to heart that simple rule that most of us were taught in childhood: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The one and only angry poster here is probably in the greatest need of healing or perhaps enlightenment. His viewing of the program was impaired by his misbegotten belief that his Vietnam service "saved mankind", which mankind would that be? It is difficult to admit you are a tool but healing cannot begin until you do so.

Ms. Kingston's words "when we have participated in events that are inhuman, how do we become human again" made me start crying. I expected to gain an understanding of soldiers and their pain and learn of the healing power of poetry. Since I've never been a soldier, I didn't expect to recognize myself. But there it is. I have been a participant in an event that was inhuman. I've not seen myself in this way before, and am not sure why the difference in perspective matters, but it does. Thank you for this.

On the subject of writing and its power, after listening intently to the discussion, I returned to Reading "Eudora Welty" by Suzanne Marrs and found a passage where she encourages John Robinson to expose more of his experiences in his writng as a way of coming back to wholeness after WWII. A different war but the human collateral damage is always the same. See page 145 - as you read the whole book which is engrossing and timely.

Mr. Moyers, Ms. Kingston - Thank you for doing the work that must be done.

My experience with war began as a social worker with military families during the Vietnam War. Later as a diplomat I saw more broken souls and bodies resulting from wars in Kabul, Peshawar, Belgrade, and Sarajevo. And I have despaired because I think I will die without seeing my country at peace again. Thank you, Maxine and Bill, for giving me a glimmer of hope. Judith Grace

Mr. Moyers, Ms. Kingston,

I could not begin to put feelings into words last night. This rare hour was too powerful, too moving.

I wept. My husband, one of the Vietnam Vets who survived in body but left his innocence and his optimism behind in I Corps, slept in another room.

We will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary tomorrow, on Memorial Day weekend, in the middle of another ungodly war. It is familiar terrain.

Like too many Vietnam veterans, he doesn't speak often of his time there. Like too many wives, I have allowed him his silence.

This war--this truly abominable abortion, unchallenged by the morally certain Right--has wounded him anew. He cries; in anger, in frustration, that it is happening again, that we have learned nothing from what he and others like him suffered 40 years ago.

I'm the one who writes here. Weekly op/ed commentary for a small paper in a small syndicate. My voice, arguing for humane public policy, arguing against this war, has become his voice.

Your program broke my heart and inspired me equally. It is the word that will save us, if anything can. It is the passion of words framing the issues; the ardent desire, through words, to insist on change long enough, loud enough and in a chorus so eloquent we cannot be ignored.

War shaped our marriage at its outset and, it seems, war defines it again. Maybe this time, because of last time, we will speak the words someone will hear.

Thank you for the inspiration.

I thought I knew Moyers by now. I knew what to expect--craftmanship of the highest order, of journalism incisive and seeking the truth from some dark corner of Congress or a corporation. Yet today, you pierced a dark corner of personal trauma. Revealed with poignancy and power by Maxine Hong Kingston, the program connected with my own experience of child abuse, as well as the loss of dear friends during the Vietnam War. Ms. Kingston is a modern shaman possessed with the knowledge of the power of writing and the path to healing traumatic wounds. I do want to note that the work she does is expansive beyond the borders of trauma as induced by traditional war, to the realm of the still-taboo of the hidden wars of child abuse. Trauma is the visceral experience of humiliation and human degradation in all its forms. It was heartening to venture into the taboo of women, men, feelings, and vulnerability--a journey I found profound and taboo. Try showing this episode to Congress or a transnational corporation.

As an anthropologist, I was fascinated by the question of why/how is it so that a wise person such as Ms. Hong Kingston can effect change and build empathy withing small groups, but that the efficacy seems to fail in the larger venue to stop war. I suspect the universal division of "Us vs. Them" goes very deep, in a fundamental biological manner, in the human psyche. We humans have spent the better part of three million years in very small hunter-gatherer groups with the attendant genetic framework that functions in small groups. The past 10,000 years may seem like a long time, but it's a mere "day before yesterday" in biological terms. We are a species adapted to functioning in very small social groups--less than 200 perhaps. The very recent rise of agriculture threw us suddenly into massivs, impersonal cities, and dysfunctional "nations" of billions. The "Us vs Them" of defining small social groups has been perverted in the modern context that depersonalizes human interactions. Amelioration of social tensions is through direct, personal contact. Within modern mass cultural setting of millions, the nuances of personal interactions are subverted and lost. We have no functional cultural mechanisms reducing conflicts within this unprecedented experiment in vast numbers. I wonder if our species will survive not only war with each other, but our war against the environment. Life out of balance and natural selection soon finds a new equilibrium, though it may not be one of our own overt choosing.

The program took me through the personal trauma of my own terrifying childhood and teen years, and beyond into an intellectual journey seeking understanding within both the personal and the cultural contexts. You can't do better than that with TV. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for the journey.

Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for dedicating an episode to a true gem in the rough world of American writers. My experience with Maxine Hong Kingston was brief, only a few days, but endlessly memorable. I performed at a reading with her of pieces from Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace at Suffolk University, which your production crew taped. It is understandable that more footage from this day was not used, and yet there were sentiments resonating in me that day that encapsulate the discussion between you and Mrs. Kingston. Reading a poem by B. Cole Morton from VOW,VOP, the entangled nature of veterans' emotions became clear to me in several ways. Looking up from the page at the end of the poem, I saw my grandfather, a Korean War vet, looking at the floor, crying. My eyes danced from him, to my grandmother, and finally to the peaceful visage of Maxine's smiling face.

The penetrating peace of this brilliant woman is one which permeates through even the thick skin of a television screen. Thank you for your work and for giving the screens a chance to relax fom bad news and violent movies.

It is so great to have Bill Moyers back. Why did you ever leave us? We need your kind of insightful journalism.

I loved tonight's show with Mrs. Kingston. Her whole demeanor radiates peace. Her voice is like a gentle touch. What a treasure she is. Thanks for having her on the show. Love her, love you.

I would just like to say that I am SO glad that serendipity had me watch this show tonight. Both Bill and Maxine are angels each living their own truth! I am not a war veteran, but as some who has been thru many experiences that my Dr's have given up on trying to Dx me...I think alot of it is buried PTSD that Maxine's therapy would help. Actually I also wrtoe poetry as a youngster and then suddenly stopped about 30 years ago and have just restarted about 4 months ago. But this show REALLY shows me the HEALING side of writing....and if it can help the general public AND out soldiers...Then lLet's Do It! So Thank YOU very Much!! every word was delicious and savored.

In gratitude,

"People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel."
~ Maya Angelou

I don't know what you want to hear from us disabled combat vet's or what else I can add to your program.
Other than that "PTSD" is real and needs to be dealth with, the sooner the better. I am talking especially to our vet's today, before their anger destroys their careers & familys & love of life period. Semper Fi comrads

Memorial Day

we honor the fallen dead in war
why not the living?
they carry the memories
still feel the pain
too raw to share
too real for us at home
comfortable

who are the heroes?
shrapnel sliced to oblivion
felled by friendly fire
collateral damage
freedom fighters
those who fight in war
those who fight against it

Thank you, Bill Moyers and Ms. Kingston for this fascinating dialogue about writing and trauma. I started writing notes during the show but realized I couldn't write it all so decided to order a DVD of the show; which I've done. Writing has been one of my passions for many years, both for myself and others. The most compelling /interesting part of the show tonight for me, a female non-veteran of war, was that trauma of any kind is a kind of violence that results in grief which of course is a part of loss. I have known this for years because during my lifetime (I'm 65 years old) I have been through several kinds of life changing trauma. I've had lots of psychotherapy and come through it all sane. I thought I was doing exceptionally well since my latest trauma until I heard Mr. Moyers and Ms. Kingston tonight and heard, for the first time, that trauma often results in the inability to read. I was stunned because I have always loved to read but have not been able to read since this latest trauma. I didn't understand why but attributed it to several insignificant things. I have thought about this occasionally but not talked about it nor asked anyone questions concerning this unusual change in myself. I now think that, perhaps, this is denial that I still need therapy of some sort. After listening to Bill Moyers conversation with Ms. Kingston tonight I believe a writing group with others who have experienced trauma would be of great benefit to me. I would prefer not to pay a facilitator for this kind of group and wonder if anyone has started their own writing group. If so, I'd like to know how, or what process they used to get others to join the group and the format to keep the group going. I have a lot of experience in starting other kinds of groups and as a group facilitator but not this kind of group. Any suggestions from anyone with experience would be appreciated.

Thank you, Linda

I'm a Gulf War veteran and also featured on the show. This show was not about disgracing veterans. If you believe that, you need to watch it again. It's about dealing with personal trauma and suffering. It's about each veteran's journey toward healing. Some need it more than others. For myself, I've needed it a great deal. The Veterans Writing Workshop, along with Maxine Hong Kingston and my veteran brothers and sisters has saved my life.

I am a VV and I watched the show. I am amazed and also bewildered at the same time. Which planet is it I live on? What reality do all of you coexist in? Is what I am reading here any portion of the reality I lived many years ago? The answer is NO! GIVE ME A BREAK! I was asked by the country my dad fought for in WW2, to save mankind, to fight for freedom, god and the american way that I grew up with. With all your progressive input in the former comments I can only assume that in your eyes we would have been better off never haveing fought Hitler back in 1941 also. So fine, you fought in the streets of good ole USA, against guys like me , my friends and family, who made the greatest of all sacrifices, and here you are BS'ing there memory. Take off your rose colored glasses and put away the cum-by-ya song book from the 60's because this holiday is about memoralizing people like by cousin Paul who took a rocket in the door of the Huey giving his life so people like you can continue talking your liberal crap, that is what it is excuse me! I am the 51% who you discrace, a V-Vet who did my time and stood up for you so you could have the freedom to talk crap then as you dod now about guys like me. Shame on you, that is my reality.
Thank You
Dave Sharpe
70-73 USN

Thanks, Bill, for this serendipitous discussion with Maxine Hong Kingston. I attended one of those veterans workshops in Sebastopol in 2003, invited there by Pauline Laurent. I was moved and impressed by the quality and substance of the stories that I heard, and by the gentle, respectful listening of fellow veterans and participants.

I have been facilitating a "storycatching" writing group in Oregon this past year. Tonight's program supports the premise of the value of writing and story. There is a need for writing and telling our personal narratives; there is great power for healing therein.

If not art, the word.

Verbal violence tears at the spirit of so many lives. Words can tear us down, break the spirit, rob the self of identity and voice. It all starts with the word.

The word can't be eradicated with bombs. I can't help but think that attempts to control through violence in any form are born from a response to a poorly placed word and a consequent thought. The action seeks to protect that thought, maintain a distorted reality, protect the sanctity of the untruthful word.

In a world of true and honest artisans, would peace be possible?

This program moved me to try to use some of my words, which were warped and muted from years of trauma I have suffered, mostly from words. Thank you.

Thank you, Bill Moyers.
I know 3 friends from two wars; Vietnam and the Gulf. They live, and yet, not. Their stories, when, very seldom, I am honored to hear them, are wrenching beyond belief. Memorial Day should be just that... To buy, and consume oil, and party is truly a mockery, as you say. Your summation is on the mark, hope many hear...

It is so clear that the act of writing out our traumas allows our pains to flow from our hearts and minds ,down our arm out the pen to the paper and like blue veins bulging on the arms of a thin man, our physicality creates our reality. Bill Moyers and Maxine Hong Kingston respective's passions and works inspires a whole community of truth tellers.Thank you for helping me be a better human being.

Wonderful show. Thank you both.

SHELTER

When my youngest son phones
And says there’s a bit of bad news
He’s being sent to Iraq
I still talk normal

But after
It’s all wild
And the question
Who can help me?

I flee

I get in that car
And flee
Until I reach
The only shelter I can bear

In the canyons
In the waiting of the trees
And the fragrance
I cannot get enough of

Everything is different here
And I have no expertise
Yet I feel not excluded
For whatever I see, it is enough

Enough for the sage
In among the others
And for the insect on its way
To the depths of crevice

No lack in the mountain range
Or whatever passes above
No lack in variety
Nothing I can think of
Even for this human
On this trail

No lack


I, too was widow from the Viet Nam War. Your program touched me deeply and inspires me to also write my story. I still have letters from my husband, Captain Joe Saffle, a helicopter pilot awarded for his bravery in flying into danger to rescue wounded soldiers.
It is so rare to watch a program with such integrity whose only purpose is to share truth. After the cacophony of hollow hypocrisy offered by the current administration and much of the media, this filled an aching void in me to hear the voice for truth. Thanks so very much. Janet K. RAiney

A longtime admirer of Bill Moyers' journalism, I have found every piece of this newest series a restoration of populist, incisive reporting and commentary. With a consolidated mainstream media not challenging its corporate ownership to hegemonic right-wing politics that use bullying tactics to stamp out diverse opinion, I feel inspired by this series. Again, you have created a program that asks the real questions in civilized tone, as opposed to cable hosts who debate smoke screen talking points in theatrically arrogant style. Your work is constructive, ethical, and poetic, and I am one of the many thrilled to see you back!

Hearing or reading Maxine Hong Kingston is always a delight. Seven years ago in high school, I read her book The Woman Warrior (which remains a personal favorite), and was struck by how this gentle woman also had such a strong voice in asserting what she stood for. Our culture glorifies militarism by cloaking it in grandiose terms and evading looking at its consequences. This manifests, most prominently, in the poor treatment soliders often receive in terms of how their country addresses their post-war physical and psychological issues. Since our government and society fail to talk about how dehumanizing and traumatizing war is, is it any surprise that many soldiers feel compelled to keep their struggles secret? Ironically, we see a general attitude that war is a natural--if unfortunate--state of humanity, when I think it obvious that war is really inhuman. To see groups and people who finally acknowledge the trauma and offer means to heal--through creativity and listening--gives a window into life that is empathetic.

Along with the truth of how writing allows us to revisit the past but transform who we will be in the future, I loved Kingston's point that words will be the way to create the world we want. We need this idealism. Ms. Kingston's work, both as a solo writer and with veterans, embodies how creation is more powerful than destruction.

Thank you Bill and Maxine for being real, on TV, for the world to see. Although I have no personal experience or connection to war, I am a teacher and lead writer's workshops for children and adults. Each of us has at least a tiny broken part of ourselves, and some of us have large gaping holes. Your heart-felt expressions and words helped me see how important it is that our stories be shared so we can all hold that pain and that person.
Thank you.

Bill Moyers Journal is a breath of fresh thinking, truely inspiring programs challenge us to make our lives more meaningful by better critical thinking. His subjects need to be discussed at public caucuses and become a new political party to save America from where we are heading. I hope that civic groups, churches and individuals take these issues to heart and help us recreate a new 'world dream' via first recreating America.

What a powerful program!
Thanks again to Bill Moyers for bringing such topics as these to the public forum with such sensitivity, insight, and humanity.
Thanks, too, to Maxine Hong Kingston for her work with the Veterans and others. I truly appreciated her comments and insight about the power of story and its ability to heal. The power of the act of creativity to "re-create" the self and bring forgiveness and healing was eloquently portrayed.

Mr. Moyers, please tell Ms. Kingston, however, that I believe she was wrong when she said that, "Art doesn't work," in stopping war. I hope that she does not truly believe that. From my perspective, Art is the best chance we have to build bridges of understanding between human beings, to recognize our common humanity. If we ever reach the point where we can be loud enough and organized enough and strong enough in numbers to prevent the next war, it will be Art that inspires us and convinces us of our common bond. What other chance do we have?

Please encourage Ms. Kingston to continue her work. She gives hope to us all.

I am so grateful that Bill Moyers is back
telling the truth! He is an American
Treasure. So is Maxine Hong Kingston
who makes people face what war feels
like not just hear about it. Thank you
Bill Moyers and Maxine Kingston.

Best Wishes and Peace, its up to all
of us to speak out which is Patriotic.
Betsy S.

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace.
I am a Vietnam War Wife. This program touched me deeply in that I have an unspeakable core inside,a tunnel perhaps, deep inside that belongs only to that time. I try to speak of those days but there is a closed door that I'm afraid to open widely. I'm afraid I will see the skeletons of all my friends, and of myself--the only things left of us after living through this war.

Ms. Kingston, I've been wanting to write about the Vietnam War Wife for 10 years--the first 30 years, I could not. Can you help me? We wives are truly the forgotten victims--our existance has not been acknowledged. This pain does not end--it is waiting for the Vietnam War to end.


Thank you for reading.

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