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Commemorating Veterans from our Community

Updated: Jul 7

Commemorating Veterans from our Community

Connecting their Stories to Homer’s Iliad

Nunc nove sub solei - nothing new under the sun.

Tools have changed. War is the same as it ever has been.

a Vermont Veteran

During the spring semester of the 2021-22 school year, ten Harwood

Union juniors and seniors studied war literature beginning with one of the

foundational texts of Western civilization: The Iliad. Dating from about 750

BCE, Homer’s epic poem is set in the ninth year of the Trojan war between the

peoples of Greece and Troy. It tells the story of Achilles - the mightiest of all

warriors - who nearly causes the Greeks to lose the brutal war when he leaves

the battlefield because he has been dishonored by his commander, the warlord

Agamemnon.

Throughout the course we tracked four potent themes that run through

the Iliad: Old men say, young men do; women in war; brotherhood; and war

glory/tragedy. We found these themes in film and poetry about WWI, short

stories about Vietnam, and a novel about the siege of Leningrad in WWII, as

well as in current events surrounding the war in Ukraine.

In May, we reached out to Vermonters - family members, neighbors and

friends - who had served in the armed forces to collect stories about these same themes. Did they still hold true? Had they changed over time? If not, why not? If so, why? After a whole class interview with Spencer Taylor, each student conducted their own interview with a different veteran. Their stories, lightly edited, appear here alongside representative stories from the Iliad.


We hope you find the exhibit illuminating. If you have any questions or

comments, please feel free to contact the instructor, Kate Stauss, who is

grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these dedicated students

and the veterans who contributed to this project: kstauss@huusd.org.

The whole project is currently housed at the Waterbury public library and that the exhibit will move to other libraries in the district as the summer progresses.



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