National magazine aims to preserve ‘Veterans’ Voices’

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 10, 2006

While most would acknowledge and even express gratitude toveterans who have served this country through the years, so oftenit is difficult to determine some practical way to show thatappreciation.

One means of giving back a little bit to these people who havegiven so much is through the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project(HVWP).

The HVWP was founded in 1946 in Chicago as a means to utilizewriting as therapy for the hospitalized veterans during World WarII. So many of the wounded were not only hurt physically, but dueto the ravages of combat, they also were injured emotionally andspiritually.

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Writing was a way of encouraging them to learn to express someof that pain in a way that could be therapeutic for them.

The program began to spread nationwide, and organizersrecognized the need to take the project a step further. “Veterans’Voices,” a publication to put the writings of these veterans inprint, began in 1952, and has been produced ever since.

“Veterans’ Voices” can only continue to succeed and fill thisvoid by volunteer help. This not-for-profit organization needsvolunteer writing aides to work both one on one and with groups ofpatients to not only help them convert thoughts and feelings intostories and poems, but to simply do the practical work of writingor typing them down.

Ann Van Norman, a Brookhaven resident and member of the Veteransof Foreign Wars Auxiliary, is a big supporter of the magazine.

“I think this is a good program for people to know about,” saidVan Norman. “Statistics say that 2,000 veterans die each day, andtheir stories die with them. This is a good way to preserve theirmemories.”

The magazine is devoted to the writings of veterans – either asinpatients or outpatients – of local VA medical centers, such asthe G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson.

Through these facilities, the manuscripts are submitted to thenational office in Mission, Kan., where volunteer editors reviewand select materials for publication. The resulting 64-pagemagazine is published three times a year. There have beensubmissions to the magazine by veterans in 49 states.

The submissions are not solely limited to World War II veterans,but United States veterans of every war.

To learn more about the “Veterans’ Voices” magazine orsubscribe, visit the HVWP Web site or callPris Chansky, administrative manager, at (913) 432-1214, or writeto the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, 5920 Nall Ave., Suite105, Mission, KA 66202.