A Massachusetts Vietnam veteran and a documentary chronicling the stories of seven local veterans are the highlights of this year’s Veterans Day commemoration in Amherst.
A U.S. Navy SEAL veteran from the Vietnam war and member of Veterans for Peace and Warrior Writers will speak at this year’s Veterans Day ceremony in Amherst.
Preston H. Hood, III, who served in Vietnam in 1970 in combat with Navy SEAL Team 2, is the author of two books of poetry and is widely published in numerous journals and anthologies. The retired school teacher and administrator lives in Colrain and is active in veteran causes in the Pioneer Valley and a member of the Friends of Ward 8 program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Leeds.
The ceremony will begin at 11:00 am on the North Common in front of Town Hall and will feature a flag presentation with veterans from Amherst Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts. Steven J. Connor, the director of Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services, will provide an update on veteran programs and events in Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. A reception will immediately follow and then a 30-minute documentary featuring Hood and several area veterans will be shown at Amherst Cinema at 12:30 p.m.
The documentary, Hunter in the Blackness, examines post-traumatic stress with each veteran describing their service, their challenges with returning home and their recovery. Directed and produced by Cambridge film director Federico Muchnik. “Hunter in the Blackness offers a message of resilience and hope,” said Muchnik.
A panel after the documentary will include Hood; Dr. Scott Cornelius, clinical psychologist with the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System; and Dr. Kathryn Basham from the Smith College School for Social Work. The ceremony, reception and documentary are free and open to the public.