National Endowment for the Arts Celebrates the Release of
Boeing supports book tour at more than ten military bases nationwide
September 12, 2006
Washington, D.C. -- Today the National Endowment for the Arts announces the release of Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. Published by Random House Publishing Group, the anthology is the result of the groundbreaking NEA National Initiative, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, a unique program that preserves the stories and reflections of U.S. military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families. The Boeing Company, which made the Operation Homecoming initiative possible, is supporting book tour visits to more than ten military bases nationwide and overseas.
The anthology is the culmination of the NEA program Operation Homecoming, which brought distinguished writers--including Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, Marilyn Nelson, Jeff Shaara, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mark Bowden--to conduct writing workshops at 25 domestic and overseas military installations from April 2004 through July 2005. Operation Homecoming also offered an open call for writing submissions to troops who have served since 9/11, along with their spouses and families. That call resulted in more than 1,200 individual submissions.
The book features almost 100 writings--including journal entries, letters, short stories, and e-mails sent to friends and family from the front. The writings express the range of emotions of life during wartime -- the severity of combat, the heartache of loved ones on the home front, the tedium and humor in day-to-day life in a war zone, and tearful homecomings for those returning to the States.
"Operation Homecoming is important on three levels--the human, historic, and literary," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "In human terms, the program and the resulting anthology have helped our troops and their families express their thoughts about the experience of wartime. Operation Homecoming has historic importance in creating personal accounts of the war by individuals who would not normally be heard. In artistic terms, this book will help discover new literary talent."
Operation Homecoming editor Andrew Carroll will take part in a more than 30-city book tour throughout the U.S. and overseas. With support from the Boeing Company, the tour will visit more than ten military bases nationwide, including stops in California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.
"The Operation Homecoming initiative has provided a unique venue for our nation's servicemen and women and their families to share their experiences and stories with others," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "The Boeing Company is proud to continue our support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the important work they do in bringing the arts to all Americans."
After Veteran's Day, Carroll will travel to overseas military installations to hand-deliver copies of Operation Homecoming to troops who have writings in the book. Carroll has edited several bestselling books, including Letters of a Nation, Behind the Lines, and War Letters, which was also a PBS film. He founded the Legacy Project, a national, all-volunteer effort to preserve wartime correspondence of veterans and active duty troops. Carroll edited the Operation Homecoming anthology on a pro bono basis.
Operation Homecoming is now available in bookstores and online. Proceeds from the anthology will be used to provide arts and cultural programming to U.S. military communities. The book also will be given to military installations, schools, and libraries.
Other Operation Homecoming resources
In addition to the anthology, Operation Homecoming will preserve all submissions in a federal government archive. A television documentary on Operation Homecoming will air on PBS in 2007. The NEA also has produced educational resources to encourage troops and their families to write about their experiences. The Operation Homecoming CD features recordings of war letters, poems, fiction, and memoirs from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. Copies of the Operation Homecoming CD can be ordered free of charge through the NEA Publications section at www.arts.gov.
Information on the Operation Homecoming book tour, essays on writing, streaming video of Operation Homecoming writing workshops, and audio clips from the CD are available at www.operationhomecoming.org.
Operation Homecoming has been administered by the NEA in partnership with the Southern Arts Federation. The initiative was made possible by generous support from The Boeing Company, which has helped the NEA bring numerous quality arts and arts education programs to military communities nationwide and overseas.
Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest combined manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft. With additional capabilities in rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems, the company's reach extends to customers in 145 countries. In terms of sales, Boeing is one of the largest U.S. exporters.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
This year, the National Endowment for the Arts marks its 40th anniversary of leadership in the arts. The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts--both new and established--bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
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