This weekend offers an opportunity to attend a play at the Opera House that shares a part of a life of local resident Tom Trumble. In sitting down with Tom this week to discuss his play and recently released book about Vietnam and returning home from war, the point came across that it is not really the spoken word that tells the story of a Veteran's return as much as the unspoken word.
As Tom shared, words are not often available to describe the scenes of war or the experience of loss of a friend or one's youth for that matter. Perhaps for that reason, so many Veterans find it difficult to share their experiences.
The production of "Speak the Word Only" this weekend will allow those of us who have not experienced the ravages of combat, the loss of life or limb, the mere wonder of the cost of war to see those things through the eyes of someone who has lived it and still lives it each day.
A scene described by Tom during our interview of the main character standing at a grave site of his friend where the stone only gives a name, rank and dates, shows how little history is told of those who served. Having never really thought about it before, despite having visited numerous cemeteries and graves of soldiers from the Civil War and beyond to today's returning war dead, those stones do not tell much about the life of the one who lies beneath.
Personalization is, as Tom said, so important in facing the reality of what our soldiers face when they join the military. It is easy for those of us left behind to call them "soldiers, veterans or our military" when of the one percent who volunteer to serve, we don't really know any of them. We can expect so much from those who choose to fight on our behalf if called, yet we often only do them lip service in terms of thanks, if that.
I would encourage anyone who is able to see the play this weekend to head out and learn from it as well as support the efforts of a local man who has poured heart and soul into this project. It will be an education about the past as well as a reality check for the future.