Throughout America’s history, the truest window into wartime experiences and homecoming has been in the words of those service members who recounted their stories themselves to loved ones and friends. In today’s – and tomorrow’s – era of intense focus on shaping battlefield and political narrative, it will be increasingly difficult to divine any one truth, which puts an even greater burden on citizens and veterans alike to understand the difficult truths of armed conflict. Yet social media and video platforms dramatically expand the reach and impact of an individual’s singular experience, allowing the intimacy of a letter to become something bigger if added to the collective consciousness online.
The Armed Services Arts Partnership and the Atlantic Council’s The Art of the Future Project sought letters home from a conflict in the 2030s as part of a first-person exploration of what homecoming might be like after future wars. The letters drew from historical creative cues for inspiration and direction.
There were 36 entries, from which judges selected finalists that were reviewed by playwright Maurice Decaul, who also served in the Marine Corps. The first place entry was from Brooke Haislop, titled “To My Son on His Eighteenth Birthday.” Second place was a letter by Michael Sierra, “Delivery Delayed,” with third place by Karin Lowachee for “War Letter.” The winning entry will be featured shortly online at a media partner for the contest.
Read more about ASAP and the contest at the ASAP website.