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San Antonio International Airport exhibit gives veterans voice in song

This holiday season, there’s a new incentive to go to the airport early: a portrait exhibit showing recovering war veterans. It’s called “From War to Words – A Visual Voices Portrait Series by Jason Myers.” But the portraits themselves are only a small part of the exhibit.

San Antonio International’s Rich Stinson explains that the project is an innovative one from a nonprofit organization called CreatiVets.

Veteran Jerry Majetich
Jason Myers
Veteran Jerry Majetich

“This particular exhibit features 11 veterans who, through the CreatiVets Music and Songwriting Program, actually were paired with Nashville recording artists and co-wrote songs with the Nashville recording artists to tell their stories,” Stinson said.

The way it worked is that veterans shared their stories with songwriters, who then wrote songs based on those experiences. At the exhibition, there is a professionalJason Myers veteran portrait, and next to the portrait the lyrics are posted in large print. There are also QR codes that passengers can scan to hear and download the songs.

Each of the 11 veterans were paired with a different songwriter. Stinson explained that the idea is to help the vets express their experiences and their feelings, which helps in their healing.

Jerry Majetich's song
Jason Myers
Jerry Majetich's song
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“There's 11 different veterans and each of them has their own very personal and separate song that they wrote,” he said.

Two identical exhibits are in the A and B terminals. In A, it’s after the security checkpoint, allowing those killing time waiting for planes, to take their time to take it all in. In the B terminal, the exhibit is before going through security, so those wanting to see the exhibit don’t even have to be flying out. The exhibit is free, after paying for parking.

Stinson said aligning professional Nashville songwriters with the war veterans is a unique way of giving the vets a voice they wouldn’t otherwise have.

“It's an incredible opportunity because not everyone has that gift to put those thoughts and feelings and experiences into words,” he said.

The two exhibits will be up through next March.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii