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.

Echoes of War

Dates: Sunday, July 31 - Friday, August 5, 2016
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106
What’s included: meals, overnight accommodations, resources and materials
Apply to be an Echoes of War Discussion Leader
Discussion Leaders will receive a modest stipend for their participation, 45+ clock hours available upon request

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Application deadline is now June 1, 2016

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.

Guided by outstanding scholars and leading voices from Minnesota’s Veteran communities, the Echoes of War retreat will be an intensive, residential training program held at the Humanities Center. Over the course of five days, Discussion Leaders will spend time learning together, engaging with scholars and experienced trainers, and studying literary and theoretical texts about war. The workshop will prepare individuals to effectively engage adult audiences of Veterans and non-Veterans in public discourses on war, memory, and military experiences.

Applicants must commit to full participation in the retreat (July 31-Aug. 5, 2016) and public discussion series in Northfield and St. Paul in Fall 2016. Applicants will be assessed based on ability to guide and engage others in a public setting; engagement with project themes of war, memory, and Veterans’ experiences; and preparedness for rigorous discussion and study. While applications will primarily be reviewed based on these criteria, the selection panel may consider the diversity of the overall Discussion Leader cohort, to include race, gender, overall geographic reach, and/or Veteran/non-Veteran composition of the cohort.

This Veterans’ Voices programming is generously supported through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

2016 Veterans' Voices Award Nominations are Open

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. The Humanities Center invites nominations of candidates who fall into one of two categories: On the Rise (age 40 and under) or Legacy (over age 40).


The preferred method of submission is through this online form. Before submitting the form, please carefully review the eligibility and preview of the nominations form.

Nominations may also be submitted by mail using this form.

All nominations must be received online or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. CDT Friday, June 3, 2016.  Nominators are encouraged to submit well before this deadline.

Exclusions: Please note that Humanities Center staff, board members, fellows, and consultants are neither eligible to nominate an individual for nor receive a 2016 Veterans' Voices Award.

If you have questions about the nominations process, please contact Laura Benson, or by phone at 651-772-4244.

2015 Veterans' Voices Awardees (PDF)  |  2014 Veterans' Voices Awardees (PDF)  |  2013 Veterans' Voices Awardees (PDF)

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.

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.