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As we mark twenty years today since 9/11, my thoughts have been with survivors, grieving family and friends, our veteran community and first responders, fellow New Yorkers, and so many around the world, all profoundly affected by that morning. I've spent the day listening to others' accounts on the radio, reading and reflecting, and thinking about the season ahead -- Voices From War's workshop season and the autumn, a period I associate with contemplation, writing, and renewal, even if, in recent years, it seems to rush by in a blur.

In the midst of listening and pulling books from my shelves, thinking about creativity and stories, crying a little too, I lit a candle, holding so many in my thoughts, known and strangers, the personal commingled with shared grieving. I thought, too, of my father, who would have been eighty-seven today; one of those odd twists of coincidence, that his birthday, after his death, should fall on a communal day of loss and change. But this coincidence, or the real substance beneath it, has been a significant impetus for Voice's From War's inception and endurance. My private grieving after his suicide compelled me toward others' experiences of loss, depression, trauma, and war.

9/11 created a context of communal grieving, so palpable in New York City in the weeks afterwards. And, of course, we know it became a catalyst for war, and for so much more loss. I speak of some portion of this at the beginning of each season, how my civilian life brought me into compassion and passion for experiences other than my own -- the military, veteran reintegration, war -- and how the intersections of difference and commonalities keep me here.

While today is a space of remembering, grieving, I find here also a space for hope and forward looking. I want to pull a line from yesterday's press release from the Joint Statement by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) on Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, expressing a shared value and truth that resonates with me and our Voices From War programming:

 
"We know that the arts and humanities help us understand and learn from our past, and give us the tools to transform grief into knowledge, creativity, and hope."
 
I know this has been true for me personally, and continues to be so; and it is one of the tenets of Voices From War's workshops.

Literature and the act of writing, our own stories and others, brought from the shadows, given voice instead of silence, offer opportunities for community, for grace and personal insight, for discussion and shared understanding. The darkest and most difficult realities multiply through silence, whereas giving voice -- searching for words, for narrative, for structure from fragments -- increases resilience, diminishes shame, and offers opportunities for artistic creation, dialogue, and connection.

 
Warmly,
Kara

Sept. 11, 2021

Kara Krauze
Founder, Director
We hope you can
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