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The Cost of War: Remembering Lost Ones

November 8, 2014

by Kevin Walsh

Albany – The College of Saint Rose is embracing the importance of Veteran’s Day through the collaboration of veterans and the Albany community. Throughout this week the college will host several informative events with the help of students, community members and faculty. One event that integrates all sources is “The Costs of War” panel presentation, this Veteran’s Day, Tuesday in the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary at 2:30 p.m.

The presentation will be set against a background of the Drone Quilt Project. This project is made up of five 5 x 5 quilts of 36 squares. Each square was made by an individual who took the name of a civilian victim of a drone attack and created a square in their memory.

Drone Quilt Project in the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary at The College of Saint Rose.

Drone Quilt Project in the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary at The College of Saint Rose.

“ There have been well over 2,000 men, women and children killed by U.S. drones as well as thousands who have been injured,” said Maureen Aumand, a member of Women Against War. “There is no oversight, these killings are extrajudicial, counter, to international law and we feel in addition to being, immoral and illegal, ineffective as research is indicating that they lead to greater not lesser degrees of terrorism and anti U.S. sentiment.”

Aumand is a College of Saint Rose alumnus who is a part of the local grassroots network called Women Against War. The group’s mission is to work toward understanding the current geopolitical realities that led to war and try to come up with alternatives to war and militarism. She has worked closely with faculty to make this event possible.

“The college is to be commended in its efforts to make this an interdisciplinary conversation and to truly honor those who serve in the military,” said Aumand. “This is a dynamic which the human race can never stop pondering: historians, poets, sociologists, philosophers, scholars and citizens. War is an old planetary scourge, but we can never bow to the nihilistic belief that war is inevitable and peace an illusion.”

Five members will participate in “The Cost of War” panel, all of which have extensive knowledge on a specific attribute of the after effects of war.

The members that not only organized the presentation, but will also be panelists are members of the college community. They’ve chosen to take part in the Veterans Day events, specifically this presentation, as a way to inform the community about the effects of war with both their personal concern and deep understanding of the topic.

Professor Kathleen Crowley will act as the moderator during The Cost of War panel presentation. Crowley is a professor of Psychology at Saint Rose and is personally interested in the psychological trauma war inflicts on civilians.

“I think it is important for our community (and especially our students) to be aware of the true horrors of war that have been demonstrated time and again throughout history—and are being acted out again in our most recent military campaigns,” Crowley said.

Another panelist, Frank Fitzgerald is a member of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department at The College of Saint Rose where he works as a professor.

“My short talk does not have its own title, but if it did it might be ‘Thinking Carefully about Armistice/Veterans Day’ for, it seems to me, careful thinking is central to what ought to be happening at an educational institution such as Saint Rose,” Fitzgerald said. “I hope students and all who attend the panel discussion will leave with new information, new insights and a great deal of food for their own thinking.”

Veteran’s Day events and information available to the Albany community.

Veteran’s Day events and information available to the Albany community.

Another professor from the College of Saint Rose, Jenise DePinto, works in the Department of History at the college. DePinto will be joining the panel to discuss the history of Veteran’s Day, specifically the start of World War I. This year marks the 100th year since the start of World War I in 1914.

“WWI is a classic case study in the futility and senselessness of war, the role of propaganda in shaping attitudes toward war, and the horrors modern warfare brings to human beings,” DePinto said. “And today’s wars generally have their origins in wars of the past. As you might imagine its causes, effects, and implications for humanity across time and place are a major focus of our studies and teaching.”

The other two members of the panel are Dan Wilcox, who is associated with Veterans for peace and Rev. Chris Antal who was a former Unitarian chaplain in Afghanistan and author of A Veterans Day Confession for America. Both of these veterans will be sharing their first-hand experiences and perspectives on war.

As well as “The Costs of War” presentation, the college will be hosting a variety of other events occurring during this upcoming week, including the one-person play, “Grounded” by George Brant which will take place at The Arts Center of Capital Region on Tuesday and throughout the week in numerous locations in the Albany area. More information on these events can be found on the college’s home website and the events section of Blackboard.

Panelists would like to get the entire community involved to participate in these future events in hopes of gaining awareness and knowledge of war and its effects.

“What I want students to leave the drone quilt exhibit, the performance of the play “Grounded” as well as the panel presentation with is a sense of the possibility and imperative of working towards bending, as Dr. Martin Luther King framed it, the arc of history towards peace and justice,” said Aumand. – 30 –

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