Morrill Lecture Series Expands With Focus on Veterans

For its fourth season, the Morrill Lecture Series is expanding to include new types of events, including a community book read and a writing workshop for veterans. 

The season will include multiple events related to veterans. A much smaller percentage of U.S. families have shouldered military service during the post-9/11 conflicts than at any other time in our nation’s history. Nearly 10 percent of Americans served in the military during World War II. Less than 1 percent serve today.  

The fourth season of the Morrill Lecture Series begins this month at the Octagon Barn. For more information, see morrilllectures.org or contact (608) 588-7428 or stef@rivervalleycommons.org

As a result, most civilians don’t fully appreciate what military service is all about. In fact, both military families and civilian families report difficulty understanding each other’s experiences. Stereotypes are prevalent, but opportunities for meaningful conversation are rare. The series hopes to provide such opportunities.

The three-part series will begin with a lecture on bridging the civilian and military divide by Doug Bradley and Leanne Knobloch at 6:30 p.m. July 11 at the Octagon Barn, E4350 Horseshoe Rd., Spring Green. Bradley is the author of multiple books about his Vietnam and post-Vietnam experiences. Knobloch is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A reading and discussion of “Learning to Stay” by Erin Celello will take place on July 27 by Zoom and at Arcadia Books. The book tells the story of the military experience from the perspective of a wife whose husband returns from Iraq with a traumatic brain injury that has turned him from a thoughtful, brilliant and patient man into someone quite different. Free copies of the book are available at libraries in Clyde, Lone Rock, Plain and Spring Green and will be available at the July 11 lecture.  

On Oct. 14-16, Bradley, Celello and other writers will conduct a writing workshop for veterans at Bethel Horizons, 4651 Cty Rd. ZZ, Dodgeville. Civilians will be able to help by sponsoring a veteran’s attendance at the workshop. 

Additional events include:

Aug. 8: American Players Theatre core company members James Ridge and Sarah Day will present the poems from the book “ANCESTRAL” by Daniel Smith. The book explores a family’s deep attachment to the land, the physical work of farming, and the emotional disruption one endures when such a life is no longer sustainable. Farmers Kal Maxwell, Dale Clark and Yvonne Brown will respond to the poems and share their stories. 

Sept. 12: Rob Greenfield (www.robgreenfield.org), Wisconsin native and activist/humanitarian dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world, will speak on how he began his transformation from “drunk dude” in college to “dude making a difference.” 

Oct. 3: Film screening and talk will bring to light some of the issues facing those living in manufactured home parks. 

All events (except the writing workshop) will begin at 6:30 p.m. The July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12 events will be held at the Octagon Barn and will offer dessert and discussion after the presentation. The Oct. 3 event will be held at the Gard Theater in Spring Green.  

For more information, see morrilllectures.org or contact (608) 588-7428 or stef@rivervalleycommons.org