One in 10 Montanans is a veteran, yet how much do we know about the veteran’s experience and military culture? Literature, history, movies, and other media often portray the veteran in stereotype—brave hero, troubled youth, skilled warrior, apathetic killer, or unflappable leader. In this talk, Elizabeth Barrs, an army combat veteran and instructor of Veterans Studies, explores the real experiences of the American veteran in combat and in peacetime. She discusses military life as well as the historical and current military culture that helps to shape how veterans relate to society. The discussion also explores the experiences of military families and the contemporary challenges and triumphs of veterans as well as what our society is doing to address those challenges.
Elizabeth Barrs is a retired U.S. Army officer and instructor of veterans’ studies at Missoula College. She is currently earning her Ph.D. in history from the University of Montana.