In honor of its longstanding tradition of recognizing local veterans, the Ormond Memorial Art Museum held its annual Veterans Day Tribute on Friday, Nov. 9.
The museum's service this year stressed the importance of the arts in helping a veteran transition from service back into civilian life. OMAM and its surrounding gardens were built by World War II veterans, said Director Susan Richmond, rendering a place to remember veterans and active service members from the start.
“It was created as a tribute to artistic freedom and those who defend it," Richmond said.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kimberly Ramos outlined the contributions of vets, past and present, as well as those serving in the armed forces today. She spoke about their shared oath to protect the country and the tradition of valor that follows it.
“They are patriotic and courageous," Ramos said. "They possess the qualities needed to serve a cause greater than themselves — our freedoms.”
After telling a few stories of some fellow veterans, she encouraged those in attendance to do the same throughout the day. Ramos also asked them to think about supporting one of the local veterans programs, as their contributions could help them and their families.
Following Ramos' speech was Army veteran and poet Alan "A.S." Minor. He shared the story of his struggles following his return to civilian life, saying that when he got out of the military, he felt lost. But then he was invited to join a veterans writing workshop in a South Florida college, a move which he said saved his life.
“The writing workshop got me out of my shell, even when I wasn’t writing, even when I wasn’t speaking when I first started," Minor said.
Wearing a shirt that read "Post-Traumatic Growth," he performed two powerful pieces of original spoken word poetry, one directly derived from his experience as a mortuary affairs specialist in the Army. His experience with writing is why he supports the veterans art community, he said, adding that he is a testament that art can save lives.
OMAM is launching a veterans art scholarship to any of their tuition-based art classes. For more information, call 676-3347.