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Holding Space for Veterans

May includes an American day of remembrance for veterans of the US armed forces. For our Members’ Corner during May, we'll focus on stories of those who served their countries around the world.

Stories of war and remembrance have a special place in our hearts. Our veterans' stories about their experiences—heroic, tragic, and mundane—deserve respect and space for the telling.

These kinds of stories about military experience can be complicated, yet they’re important. National service means something, especially when lives are at risk in that service. These aren’t all tidy, heroic packages, though. When I look back on my family history, I find a legacy of Quakerism and stories that intertwine valor, service, and pacifism. This experience is complicated. These are the stories that need to be told.

A few years ago, during a Ponga event, a US veteran taught me the phrase “holding space.” As I learned, holding space means creating a safe space to talk about uncomfortable stories. In-person conversations can involve being fully present and open-minded and respecting silence while a story comes together. It’s a way to prepare a focused environment for listening and empathy.

I want our Projectkin Members’ Corner to create a virtual version of that safe space. Someplace we can share and respect these important stories. I think of the importance of memorial services that way, too. Eulogies, wakes, and receptions let us share memories and find closure. Military honors are a country’s way of extending national condolences.1

Honor your loved ones and share their stories.

During the month of May, I’d like to focus on this theme for our Members’ Corner and invite you to contribute your own stories. I’ll share the collection in our Members’ Corner, giving each story focused attention and celebration.

You may have already read some military stories in our Members’ Corner, for example:

The idea for this as a theme for the Members’ Corner was triggered by a submission by

. As she submitted a story about her uncle in April, she asked that I hold it for release until May. She wanted the story shared on Memorial Day, May 27th, 2024.

That got me thinking. Earlier this week, April 25th, was Anzac Day. VE Day, celebrating the end of WWII in Europe, is just over a week away, on May 8th. V-J Day is celebrated in August in most of the world and on September 2nd in the US. Armistice Day, celebrating the end of WWI is recognized globally on November 11th, also Veteran’s Day in the US. Each of these days is important. They connect us personally to historical moments through the memories and artifacts of our loved ones.

May Members’ Corner Theme: Military

It didn’t take me long to realize that I should make stories of experiences in the armed forces a theme for the May cohort. Here at Projectkin, it will be an honor to help you celebrate these stories during the month of May. Victoria’s article will be the first submission. I already have a few submissions, and I’d love to include yours. I’m also looking into cross-posts; let me know if you’re interested in that as well.

But wait! April comes first! The first of our April2 Members’ Corner cohort will be out on Tuesday, April 30. Learn more about how this program works here:

The key idea is to give our members an easy way to start sharing their stories. All you need to do is get me your files before midnight on May 21, 2024.

See the article ☝️ for details on submitting your article. It includes an easy-to-use form to send me your text (as .doc, Gdoc, or even a .txt file), image files, and recordings (.mp4 video or .mp3 audio, for example). Using the form helps ensure that your written and visual materials stay together — and reminds me how to reach you 😉. I share the articles in the cohort in email in the order in which I receive them.

Do you still have questions? I’d love to hear from you:

If you aren’t a Projectkin subscriber, join us and get all event recordings and our members’ corner articles delivered to your mailbox.


This video was taken during a military honors ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu for my stepfather, Navy Captain Harland B. Cope, after he passed in September 2014.


The deadline for the April cohort was April 21st.

Projectkin Community Forum
Members' Corner
A section of the Projectkin Community dedicated to celebrating the family history storytelling of our members. Explore the stories, add comments, and support their writing by sharing what you read with friends, family, and colleagues.