Bestselling author of War, Sebastian Junger ’77, hosts Veterans Town Halls to honor and document veterans’ service

Best-selling author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger ’77, most famous for The Perfect Storm, and award-winning documentaries Restrepo and Korengal and also author of War, Tribe, and Freedom coming out in May, is also the founder of Veterans Town Halls, a non-profit that promotes community gatherings in which U.S. veterans recount what it felt like to go to war. These open community events honor and document veterans’ service, often proving therapeutic for the returned service people who share their stories. Junger shares, “There is an aspect of saying something in public that is enormously cathartic and can’t be overestimated.” 
The launch of Veterans Town Halls came out of Sebastian’s book titled TribeThe book explores the idea that the rise in PTSD among veterans over the past decade is a result of the difficulty of transitioning from communal platoon life where one’s sense of purpose and togetherness is clear, to reentering the fragmented, isolating and technology-heavy modern American lifestyle. The practice of coming together, showing gratitude and storytelling after war is a tradition practiced by many cultures, including Native American tribes, and Sebastian posited that borrowing this tradition might be one step towards combating soaring rates of PTSD and depression among veterans. Another benefit of the Town Halls, Sebastian said, is “allowing civilians to morally engage with our country’s decision to enter into war.” Now in year five, dozens of Veterans Town Halls have taken place, mainly on or near Veterans Day each year. As the organization’s website puts it, “humans are amazingly resilient when part of a community, and amazingly fragile when they are not.” Veterans Town Halls aim to tap into this truth.
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