Coming Home, Finding a Space: Veterans History in Buffalo
Family and friends of service people often proudly display “Support the Troops” banners. Military history museums often interpret America’s wars. But, what happens when those active duty troops come home? And how did service men and women readjust after combat was over in previous wars, throughout US history? Who shares these stories? Where can the public learn more about this? As a 2013-2014 Public Humanities Fellow, I am exploring the answers to these questions by looking at the ways our community engages with veterans history.
My project will partner with the Buffalo History Museum to ask community members what they wish they knew about these readjustment processes. We can then learn from history and each other to make the homecoming process one in which the entire community can participate, not just veterans. The project also hopes to learn from veterans themselves just what could have made their readjustment easier. Veterans can then teach the community the best ways to support other veterans immediately after service and beyond. While this project begins with community conversations, I hope to help foster an actual space for historical interpretation of veterans experiences, based on the needs and interests of our Western New York community.