Warriors’ Journey Home is a veterans healing circle in Tallmadge, Ohio. Founded in 2006, this group of veterans and people of strong heart, (spouses, children, parents, and community members) have allowed me to be a part of their circle and to tell their stories. In October of 2010, Warriors’ Journey Home sent a group of ten of its members on a healing journey to Vietnam and I was invited to document their experiences.
Five in the group from Ohio were combat veterans in Vietnam, each with their own story. We met up with ten others from Soldier’s Heart and formed a group with 11 veterans, 2 who had served in combat in Iraq – the rest were of strong heart, including Seneca Holy Woman Shianne Eagleheart, Reverend John Schluep, Dr. Ed Tick, and Dr. John Fisher. We visited the places where the men were stationed, places where notorious firefights took place, historical landmarks, heard stories of the many years of war the Vietnamese fought before the Americans came, and we visited the War Remnants Museum. We visited with Vietnamese veterans of the war, and shared stories, read poetry, and developed friendships.
There were many profound events that have taken place during the time I’ve been honored to spend with this healing community. It was an honor to bear witness on a three-week trip to Vietnam with these courageous veterans and members of the community.
Sharing stories with each other has healed them. Sharing their stories with the Vietnamese has healed them, and sharing their story in print, video, and photos continues to heal them, and the whole community; because everyone hurts when there is war.