The war in Iraq has taken a toll on the United States and its people financially, mentally and of course physically.
One person who knows what it’s like to be on the battlefields of the Middle East is Colonel John C. Church Jr.
Church visited Northampton on March 11th as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities program “Off to War and Coming Home: Historical Perspectives on Military Veterans During and After Their Service, 1946-Present.”
The discussion was based off of Church’s 2009 1st prize-winning essay, “The Best Seven Months of Our Lives: The War in Iraq and the Battle in Hollywood.”
Church said that the role Hollywood plays in depicting times of war is important in terms of getting the struggles that veterans have to face depicted in truthful ways.
He then showed clips of three films that he believed fit this description including the 1946 classic “The Best Years of our Lives.”
Church talked to the crowd, which included members of Northampton’s Band of Brothers organization, about the true impact of wars like the ones in the Middle East in where many of his comrades have either been killed in battle, or returned home with various mental aliments like PTSD.
“If someone tells you, ‘war doesn’t impact me,’ they’re lying,” Church told those in attendance.
When asked by an audience member what they should do if they know a veteran who is having trouble living a normal life but won’t do anything about it.
“Going to the VA (Veteran’s Affairs) office is the first step,” he said.
Church also addressed his opinion that when veterans return home from their tours of duty, they aren’t exactly given preferential treatment.
“Veterans are sometimes treated as ‘the other(s)’ in our society,” he said.
Colonel Church is currently an assistant professor in English Communication at Immaculata University. He is also the founding president of the Valley Forge Military College.