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Experience the story of being a veteran as told by veterans.

What Veterans Want You to Know

In this three-part video series, veterans share their firsthand experiences, thoughts, and opinions on serving in the military, returning home, and their subsequent life journeys. Each video covers different topic areas, from the basics of military culture, to veteran identity, to the aftermath of returning home to civilian life. Veterans featured in these videos come from diverse backgrounds, branches of service, eras of service, and generations. The goal of this series is to provide an insight into the military world. These videos produced by the Military Resilience Foundation.

What Veterans Want You to Know, Part 1

What Veterans Want You to Know
Part One: The Basics

In this video, you will learn about the U.S. Military Branches of Service. You’ll hear the Oath of Enlistment, and you’ll learn about eras of service and their uniqueness, and the difference between Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve.

What Veterans Want You to Know, Part 2

What Veterans Want You to Know
Part Two: Basic Training & Beyond

In this video, you will learn about the physical and mental demands of boot camp, the effects of being deployed, the effects on family, the switch from “I” to “We”, and the complexities of the Veteran identity.

What Veterans Want You to Know, Part 3

What Veterans Want You to Know
Part Three: The Return Home

In this video, you will learn about returning from “We” to “I”, Post Traumatic Stress, Moral Injury, Veteran suicide, and assumptions made about Veterans. You’ll learn ways to communicate with Veterans, including “Do’s” and “Don’ts,” and about connecting with Veterans through the Arts.

Understanding Military Culture & the Role of Art in Healing

An integral part of the VetArtSpan project is helping artists, community members and service providers understand the basics of military culture and what it’s like to serve in uniform. Towards this goal the Straz Center for the Performing Arts created a primer, Understanding Military Culture and the Role of Art in Healing, which covers topics ranging from the branches and eras of service, to deployment cycles, reintegration, and the experience of military family members and caregivers. Each section is outlined below and links to the full text are provided as a resource for further learning.

This primer does not function as a stand-alone text. If you are interested in learning more about the military and veteran community we encourage you to reach out, start conversations, and learn from the people around you. The Straz Center for the Performing Arts and many other organizations offer a variety of events and activities to help you start that process.

Why is being culturally competent important?

According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, more than 1.5 million veterans call Florida home, the third highest population in the United States behind California and Texas. As more veterans leave military service or retire from the workforce, they come to Florida in search of warmer temperatures and economic opportunity. According to data compiled by Pew Research, Florida’s citizens, and especially its Puerto Rican and African American communities, are overrepresented in relation to rates of enlistment and active duty military service. It is clear that Floridians embody a spirit of patriotism and that service members, veterans, and their families will continue to be an integral part of Florida’s communities for decades to come.

Click here to read more about the basics of Military Cultural Competency, including branches of service, service eras, and understanding veteran identity.

1. The Basics of Military Cultural Competence

A Short Introduction

What is it like to serve in the military?

For many service members the military experience is defined by cycles of deployment and reintegration. Deployment, whether stateside or overseas, can lead to many of the tensions and difficulties that service members and their families face. It can also be an experience of learning, growth, and accomplishment.

Click here to read more about deployment cycles, reintegration, and common barriers that service members may face.

What can I do to help as an artist, community member, or service provider?

When someone’s military service ends they return home in search of understanding, acceptance, and community. That’s where you come in! It is important for us to understand post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and moral injury while also addressing stigma and barriers to healing. We must be prepared to provide support while remaining mindful that each veterans’ path is unique.

Click here to read more about providing support and overcoming stigma.

What about family members and caregivers of veterans?

There is a common saying in the military that behind every strong Soldier, Airman, Marine, Sailor, or Coast Guardsman is an even stronger military family. Spouses, partners, siblings, parents, and children are an important and often overlooked population within our military and veteran community. For many family members who become caregivers, their service begins when their loved one leaves the military. Understanding and uplifting the role of military families and caregivers is essential to serving our military and veteran community.

Click here to read more about understanding and supporting military family members and caregivers.

Why use art when working with the military & veteran community?

Humans are sensory beings, basing the majority of our existence on what we see and what we do. Visual processing and enactment are important tools to use with the military & veteran community as they create movement, interpersonal connection, and develop voice. The arts are unifying in a society that can be divided, and with a population who may be undergoing their own divisions (internally, within family, or with the external world) art can build cohesion along these fault lines and offer an outlet that helps put the pieces together and create a cohesive narrative. Perhaps most importantly, art is healing and powerful because it is inherently personal.

Click here to read more about how art heals trauma, builds community, and bridges the gap between civilians and the military & veteran community.

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