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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Generations Bridged

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

When one thinks of father and son activities, they generally imagine a day of fishing or even playing a game of catch in the backyard. Most people would not conjure an image of two men giving a dramatic dialogue performance piece with the subject matter being as visceral and moving as "What is a Veteran?"

Mike and Stephen McCann. Gold Medal winners in the Patriotic Prose category.

Mike and Stephen McCann. Gold Medal winners in the Patriotic Prose category.

Mike McCann is an Army Veteran of the Vietnam Era. He is also a professional actor who is a veteran of the Creative Arts Festival with six appearances. Stephen McCann, his son, is also an Army Veteran of the Gulf War Era. This is his first Festival.

While the Festival may be self explanatory for those who've served, the message that is given in the patriotic prose the duo performs together is one that we all hope the rest of the public can comprehend. The essential point of the piece is that you can't always recognize a Veteran from their outward appearance at first glance. For example "He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket -- palsied now and aggravatingly slow -- who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come."

Showing that creativity can be a bond even deeper than genetics, as well as being a cathartic aspect of a Veteran's life. Be sure to see the McCanns' performance this week.

By Darin Farr, public affairs officer, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

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