Monday, October 5, 2009

veteran visitor

On Monday October 5th, Iraq-war vet and Meadville resident Brian McCauley spoke to the students of English 200: The Literary Response to War at Allegheny College. Brian was generous and brave enough to share the intimate—and often harrowing—experience of his service and its aftermath. Spoiler alert: His personal story includes residing in Saddam's former palace in Tikrit, earning a purple heart for surviving a car bomb, and managing the myriad aftereffects of his time abroad.

In advance of his visit, Brian was kind enough to read a few stories from the book our class studied in depth: Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Our discussion began with his thoughts on the text.

The video totals about an hour and is broken into two parts.

Brian McCauley: Part I from Courtney Zoffness on Vimeo.

Brian McCauley: Part II from Courtney Zoffness on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. This is so incredibly enlightening, and so incredibly important.

    As a concerned American, I am perpetually at a loss for understanding the predicament of people in combat. Especially when fighting wars with a dubious ethical base. Brian's overwhelmingly forthcoming articulation of his experience has helped me understand a little more about the details of this war on the ground.

    The ongoing connection with O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" puts Brian's discussion in a context that helps me/us realize that literature and history are not artifacts to be archived and examined, but tools to help us address the realities of our times.

    Thank you to Courtney for facilitating this, and Brian for sharing his story. How can I keep this discussion going?

    - Jeremy