Artwork of JCC Veteran Students Selected by U.S. Department of State for September 11 Remembrance Exhibit in London
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Artwork of JCC Veteran Students Selected by U.S. Department of State for September 11 Remembrance Exhibit in London

Published: July 29, 2021

Image of Veteran Students Holding Masks

(l-r) Hawthorne E. Potts, Stephanie G. Eriacho, Danny R. Bearley.

The artwork of seven Jefferson Community College (JCC) veteran students has been selected by the U.S. Department of State for inclusion in the exhibit And Yet We Rise: 20 Years Remembrance and Reflection of September 11th opening at the U.S. Embassy in London on September 8, 2021 and virtually at “Inside/outside masks” were created by the veteran students during their Dialogues of Honor and Sacrifice: Soldiers’ Experiences in the Civil War and the Vietnam War (Dialogues On War) course made possible by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant the College received in 2018.

Dr. Ronald R. Palmer, professor of history at JCC, initiated the development of Dialogues On War to help veterans gain a deeper understanding of their time spent in the military and combat experience through the lens of the humanities. “Being asked to share our students’ work in this 9/11 remembrance exhibit is truly an honor,” says Dr. Palmer. “For the students who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, 9/11 was a call to duty. They now have a chance through their masks to engage in dialogues on war and its aftermath. It is also a tremendous honor for JCC, demonstrating the power of collaboration and innovation in serving our students, and our special relationship with the 10th Mountain Division.” In addition to the development of Dialogues On War, veterans in the program traveled to the war memorials in Washington D.C. and historic battle sites in Gettysburg, PA. 

Dialogues On War gained national exposure when an article written by Norah Machia, “Warrior Lit”, was printed in the winter 2019 issue of Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As a result, the U.S. Department of State made an inquiry to the College about incorporating the veterans’ artwork in the September 11 exhibit in London.  

Inside/outside masks of the following JCC veteran students were selected:

  • Florian K. Barrie of LaFargeville
  • Danny R. Bearley of Carthage
  • Jeremy M. Bombardier of Watertown
  • Stephanie G. Eriacho of LaFargeville
  • Darren P. Lemorta of Great Bend
  • Hawthorne E. Potts of Carthage
  • Christopher James (CJ) Villanueva of Sublette, Kansas

Their masks will be on display along with the United States flag that hung at the exit terminal of Flight 93 at Newark International Airport, New Jersey, on September 12, 2001; objects left on the U.S. Embassy steps in London as a show of grief and reflection for the United States; the Flag of Remembrance, 22.4 foot high by 25.4 foot wide, showcasing the faces and names of 9/11 victims and photographs of uniformed first responders and civilians; a photo of the United States flag painted on the side of a barn in Clinton Corners, NY, on  September 12, 2001 by neighborhood farmers and photographed by Mary Hilliard; and more. Prior to the fine arts movers preparation of the masks for shipment overseas, veterans’ artwork was photographed by David M. Bowhall, graphic designer at JCC, for later inclusion in a printed publication of the U.S. Department of State Office of Cultural Heritage.  

President Ty. A Stone said, “Jefferson’s Dialogues On War course has made a significant impact and lasting impression on both our students and our faculty. Now the world gets to see and appreciate a visual representation of the personal sacrifice made by our military, through their service to our country. This exhibit is such a meaningful honor for our students and it is humbling for Jefferson Community College to be a part of the experience.”

In December 2019, the National Humanities Alliance invited Dr. Palmer, President Stone, then Veterans Coordinator Craig McNamara and veteran student Stephanie Eriacho to Capitol Hill to share insight about Dialogues On War and how it served the College’s veterans population. The briefing on Capitol Hill was co-sponsored by U.S. representatives Elise Stefanik, Chellie Pingree, David Price and Steve Stivers. Later, Capitol Hill extended an invite to JCC veteran student Eriacho to attend a congressional hearing and give testimony of her Dialogues On War experience. 40% of Jefferson Community College’s enrollment is comprised of veterans, active duty military and their family members.

In addition to veteran programming, the College hosts thought- provoking events designed to inspire individuals and spark conversations. Upcoming events are free admission and open to the public. Printable and e-tickets, required, are available online. For more information about upcoming events at JCC, call the Student Activities and Inclusion Office at 315-786-2431.

See how you can support veterans programming at JCC online or call the JCC Foundation at (315) 786-2458. 

Upcoming Events

Never Quit, Never Give Up Presentation by Travis Mills  * Thursday, September 2
7:00 PM in Sturtz Theater
Free Admission
Advanced Ticket Reservations Required 

Join us for an evening of inspiration and motivation with retired disabled veteran Travis Mills. Critically injured on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne, nationally-known Mills is now described as a “recalibrated warrior, motivational speaker, actor, author and an advocate for veterans and amputees.”   His sense of humor and unwavering zest for life allows him to connect with audiences as he shares his message about overcoming life’s challenges and adversity.  Learn more about Travis Mills online.

Conversations with The Resilient  * Friday, September 17
7:30 PM in Sturtz Theater
Free Admission
Advanced Ticket Reservations Required

The Resilient Concert   * Saturday, September 18 
7:30 PM in the McVean Gymnasium
Free Admission
Advanced Ticket Reservations Required

The Resilient is an American rock band comprised primarily of disabled veterans who met at Walter Reed Military Hospital. With the support of rock and roll legend, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, the group formed The Resilient to create music that reflects both the hardship and inspiration that they experienced in their military and civilian careers. Learn more about The Resilient online. Made possible by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant with support from Disabled Persons Action Organization. 



Story by:

Pamela Dixon

Additional Information:

Public Relations Department, Jefferson Community College, (315) 786-2392, Email Public Relations

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