Veterans' Voices

Veterans’ Voices draws on the power of the humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of Veterans. This initiative amplifies, honors, and recognizes the stories and contributions of Minnesota Veterans in their own voice through plays, art, discussion groups, and the Veterans’ Voices Award.

Through collaboration and development eight themes have been identified as resonating with Veterans which are clearly woven throughout the entire program.  They are:  Combat vs Non-Combat, Duty, Family, Motivation, Perception, Reintegration, Service and Transformation.

Help support Veterans' Voices by donating through the Minnesota Humanities Center's Veterans' Voices Give MN page.

War and Remembrance

Date: Tuesday, August 2
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106
Cost: Free and open to the public

Communities across the United States remember the Vietnam War with tributes and memorials, but the stories they tell and the visitors they attract vary greatly. How does place influence the act of memorializing? And how do sites of collective memory align with the lived experiences of Veterans? More than 40 years later, memories of the Vietnam War are still visceral and the desire to pay tribute to them still immediate. Join the Veterans’ Voices program for a lecture and facilitated discussion with Prof. Meredith Lair of George Mason University. Together, we will examine the legacies of the Vietnam War as they are memorialized in sites both prominent and overlooked.

An Evening of Stories with Veterans' Voices

Date: Thursday, August 4
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Sidhe Brewing Co., 652 Jenks Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106
Cost: Free and open to the public

The Veterans' Voices Storytelling Project, in partnership with The Moth Community Program, collaborated with Minnesota Veterans to shape their own life experiences into well-crafted stories told live. Join us as our Veteran Storytellers take the stage!

2016 Veterans' Voices Award

Date: Sunday, September 11
Time: 4-8 p.m.
Location: University of St. Thomas, Anderson Student Center, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 5510
Space is limited. Seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The 2016 Veterans' Voices Award recognizes, amplifies, and honors Minnesotans who have honorably served and are making extraordinary contributions to their communities. These actively engaged, former and current military service members go above and beyond to make significant, positive contributions that improve the lives of people across Minnesota. 

2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees (PDF)

2014 Veterans' Voices Awardees

2013 Veterans' Voices Awardees

Become a Table Sponsor for the 2016 Veterans’ Voices Award Ceremony

If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring the 2016 Veterans’ Voices Award Ceremony on September 11 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, please contact Margret Swanson or 651-772-4262.

Echoes of War

Public discussion group in St. Paul

Dates: Tuesdays, October 11, 18, 25 & November 1
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106
Please plan to attend all four sessions, 8 clock hours available upon request

Public discussion group in Northfield

Dates: Tuesdays, October 11, 18, 25 & November 1
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Carleton College, Building TBD, Northfield, MN 55057 (Oct. 11, 18, 25)
Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106 (Nov. 1)
Please plan to attend all four sessions, 8 clock hours available upon request

Echoes of War asks Veterans and members of the general public to consider how Americans memorialize war and military service in public, and how that relates to the way war gets remembered through the personal stories and life experiences of Veterans. As part of this project, the Humanities Center will host an immersive training retreat for ten Discussion Leaders who will be equipped to host rich conversations in their own communities and lead two public discussion series in Fall 2016.

Over the course of four sessions, participants in the public discussion series will read, share, and discuss literature and stories of war while examining the public narratives and structures memorializing military service in Minnesota. The experience will challenge participants to think about history, collective memory, memorialization, and personal story while learning from and with one another about the culture and impact of military service through literature, architecture, and theater. While this opportunity involves active conversation and engagement throughout the four sessions, participants of all backgrounds and experience are welcomed. Veterans and non-Veterans alike are encouraged to participate!

This Veterans’ Voices programming is generously supported through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Legacy Amendment - Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Reflections on War and Service: Memorials on the St. Paul Capitol Mall

An Educator Guide to War Memorials at the Minnesota State Capitol Mall

How Americans remember war and military service is shaped by two narratives. The first story is about duty and honor that memorialize war; the second story includes those intensely personal experiences of Veterans and how war is remembered. War memorials, like those found here in Minnesota on the State Capitol Mall and those on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., serve as visual resources for the public to reflect on how war is memorialized and remembered. Reflections on War and Service fills in the missing stories (those absent narratives) of Veterans, service members, and military families who remember war. This educator guide is designed around the stories of war, service, and memorials that are experienced on a class field trip to five specific war memorials on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.

War Memorial Educator Guide (PDF)

Explore Additional Veterans’ Voices Resources


Veterans' Voices Program

This video by Whirlygig Productions highlights the importance and impact of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans’ Voices program, which began in 2013. The video features interviews with Veterans’ Voices Program Officer, Trista Matascastillo and 2014 Veterans’ Voices Awardees Brockton Hunter, Evan Tsai, and Richard Leonard.

Veterans' Voices Program from Whirlygig Productions on Vimeo.





October is Veterans' Voices Month

Minnesota was the first state to designate an entire month to honoring Veterans. The Minnesota Humanities Center worked with Minnesota Veterans, Representative Jerry Newton (D-District 37A), Representative Bob Dettmer (R-District 39A), and Senator John A. Hoffman (D-District 36) to write a bill designating October asVeterans’ Voices Month (HF 2812). After passing both Houses by unanimous vote, Governor Mark Dayton signed Veterans’ Voices Month into law on May 16, 2014. This law will not only honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesota Veterans, but will also educate all Minnesotans by sharing and studying Veterans’ experiences. Minnesota Veterans will be encouraged to share their stories through art, essays, and poetry in an effort to assist the public in understanding this unique military culture.