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Colby College will close out the week of Veterans Day with a public program Sunday to engage the community in discussion focused on the lives of service members and veterans as well as their families, caregivers, and communities.
The event begins at 2 p.m. Nov. 15 in Colby’s Cotter Union with a dramatic reading from a Greek tragedy by Sophocles about postwar depression and suicide. A community panel discussion follows, featuring National Endowment for the Humanities chair, Colby president emeritus, and Vietnam veteran Bro Adams. The program ends with a town hall-style discussion around the visible and invisible wounds of war.
Organizers are eager to engage the community, particularly inviting veterans, their families, and friends. Goals are to foster understanding and compassion and to mobilize citizens and resources to help improve the lives of service members and veterans, as well as their families and communities.
The program, “Theater of War,” begins seeking wisdom from the ancients, with readings from Sophocles’s Greek tragedy Ajax by professional actors who have Broadway and Hollywood credits. The play is about a fierce warrior who slips into depression and ultimately takes his own life following the Trojan War. The reading is part of an innovative public health project by the social impact company Outside the Wire, which presents readings of Sophocles’s plays as a catalyst for discussions about challenges faced by service members, veterans, their families, caregivers, and communities.
Turning to the present, a brief panel discussion will feature Adams; Amanda Cooley, daughter of a veteran; Adam Cote ’95, a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia; and Maj. Melanie Morin, M.D., staff psychiatrist at the Maine VA Medical Center and a member of the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve. That will transition into an open-floor, facilitated audience discussion of the themes and issues raised.
The event welcomes Bro Adams back to the campus. After serving in the Army in Vietnam, he went on to a career in higher education and was president of Colby from 2000 to 2014 before being named chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities by President Barack Obama. The event also reflects the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the NEH.
Theater of War is sponsored by Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, the Department of Theater and Dance, Colby Health Center, MaineGeneral Health, and Joseph F. Boulos ’68, LL.D. ’09, and Sheri Boulos.
The event reflects the interdisciplinary nature of learning and programming at Colby. The Center for the Arts and Humanities promotes the long-term benefits of the skills developed through humanistic research, while the Goldfarb Center makes connections between work in the classroom and contemporary political, economic, social, and environmental issues. Partnering with the Health Center and MaineGeneral reinforces that connectivity with larger communities, and the support of Colby Trustee Joe Boulos continues his longstanding concern for service members and veterans in Maine.