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Veterans' Stories

OPB | Nov. 11, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:05 p.m.

Jonathan Wei has heard more veterans’ stories than you can imagine. As the founder and creator of The Telling Project he’s spent his time — hours and hours of it — interviewing Oregon veterans and listening to and videotaping their war stories. Jonathan Wei takes those hours of tape and writes a narrative of their tales. He weaves some stories together and keeps some monologues independent. While Wei writes, the veterans take performance classes. Weeks later those veterans take to the stage to tell their stories, as scripted by Wei, to the general public.

The Telling Project has been performed in Portland and Eugene. And now it’s hitting the national stage — big time. On Veterans Day, five members of the Project will perform live for Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and an audience of movers and shakers in D.C. We’ll hear from Wei, who will be getting his team prepped for the big performance, and from some of the participants in Telling, Portland.

How did telling their stories affect their memories of service? How did it affect the way they integrated back into daily life? Did it help friends and families understand what they went through?

If you are a veteran, do you share your stories? If so, how? If not, why not? If you are the loved one of a veteran are there stories you want to hear that you haven’t? How open are veterans in your life to telling their tales of service?

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