On the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, Lt. Col. (ret.) Thomas Dombrowsky a Vietnam War combat veteran and Adjunct Professor, Gettysburg College, asks what we have learned: the trauma of veterans was not so much outright hostility as disinterest or silence; we should not blame the soldiers for bad policy; and, above all, we need to think beyond the end of hostilities so that winning the peace becomes as important as winning the war. On the positive side, he notes that two American presidents, Obama and Trump, have visited Viet Nam.
A widely traveled, award-winning “ambassador” of peace, Rev. Sandra Mackie, Spiritual Director, Ruth House, and Recipient of the Lifetime Peacemaker Award, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice, believes that fear is a significant factor in war, and that better understanding is a key ingredient for peace. She observes that Iran should not be lumped together with other Mid-East nations. Iranians are not Arabs, but Persians with a long and proud history. They want to be democratic and open to the West, but free and independent; and when threatened, they think it necessary to develop a nuclear program.
Richard Michael, Interim Pastor Big Spring United Lutheran Church, discussed his recent travel to the Holy Land. Having led several groups over the years, he described the sites the group visited, the orientation to the trip for participants and the benefit of the trip for participants. For him and individuals in the group, the arrival to the Holy Land was “coming home” since the sites (cities and roads) are familiar to Christians through their reading of scriptures. In addition, Michael discussed the political realities which exist. Such a trip helps pastors to preach and teach more effectively and assists participants to reflect more critically when reading scripture and listening to sermons.
In the second of two interviews (the first on immigrating to the United States), Odila describes the circumstances of his arrest, imprisonment, brutalizing, and eventual escape. He was apprehended while working with the Red Cross in the Republic of Congo because he opposed the use of children as soldiers in Congo’s civil war, some as young as seven or eight. He continued his counseling during the 17 years he lived in an immigration camp in Zambia.
Recorded live on Sunday, May 6, at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg.
Justine Odila talks about his journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States. While in the Congo, he worked to help child soldiers to return to school, their families and mental stability as well as helping other young children to not become soldiers in the first place. This work resulted in him being arrested but he escaped to Zambia where he lived in a refugee camp for 17 years where he carried assisting those around him. After a 5-year vetting process, he was finally able to come to the United States via a resettlement program. He presently works at Walmart, works part-time as a mental health counselor, and attends classes at the community college.
To learn more about the Democratic Republic of the Congo you can begin here:
Artist Joshua Osburg, MFA Candidate at FontBonne University, Artist in Residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park, and combat veteran explores the importance of art to him throughout his life. He explores the idea that art can serve as a method to eliminate stress and how art can be a vehicle for personal healing.
Chip Beck is not only a veteran and an artist, he is also a combat artist with global experience who has rendered these experiences first-hand. His academic training is in political science, but he has been capturing what he sees on paper and other surfaces since he was a small child. Beck is an artist-in-residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park. He joins Katy Giebenhain for a conversation about “stone soldiers” and his current time on Gettysburg’s battlefield.
Texas-based graphic designer Cesar Rivera joins Katy Giebenhain from Seminary Ridge Review for a conversation about the Pickett’s Charge flag capture of Corporal Joseph De Castro, artifact books, working as much color theory as possible into classes and ways in which all designers are educators. Rivera was an artist-in-residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Dr. Jill Titus, Associate Director, Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and the author of Brown’s Battleground suggests that we often misunderstand historical monuments, thinking they are “history” when they are really interpretations of history. As such, they become opportunities for conversation, study, communication and reflection. When deciding the fate of such monuments, context is critical. The New Orleans monument was clearly offensive, but many others should be retained as markers of our self-understanding as Americans.
The producers would like to note that this episode was recorded on July 7th 2017, a month before the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue and related protests and counter protests.
United Lutheran Seminary expresses deepest sympathy for the those killed and injured in Charlottesville. Please take a moment to read the written response to the events in Charlottesville.
We also encourage our listeners to revisit the episode titled “Not waiting for the Hero” to hear an example of a unique form of non-violent counter protest that was carried out 10 years ago under similar circumstances.
Nick Collier, the current Gettysburg National Military Park Artist-in-Residence, speaks with Katy Giebenhain about sculpture, a contemporary twist on an Afghan Box Camera and what it is like to be a veteran spending a month on the iconic Battlefield outside of tourist season.