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The Effects of War on Veterans

A Mason-led project looking at the effects of war on veterans could change how the topic is taught at universities, including military academies.

Jesse Kirkpatrick is recipient of an NEH grant funding research on what universities teach about veterans and how they are affected by war. Photo by Ron Aira

Jesse Kirkpatrick, assistant director of Mason’s Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, has teamed with Edward Barrett, director of strategy and research at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership based at the U.S. Naval Academy. Barrett is retired from the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War” uses sources from philosophy, history, poetry, and literature to spark discussions about the effects of war on the warrior. Homer’s Odyssey and Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home are among the selections.

“It creates some space for the veterans to explore these issues on the moral, psychological, and spiritual impacts of war,” Kirkpatrick says.

About 60 veterans are expected to participate in the project, which is designed to help the veterans themselves while building a resource and curriculum for others to use, Kirkpatrick says.