John………Male, 58, a Vietnam Veteran, sidekick and caretaker to Gunny
Eve………. Female, 38, a Gulf War Veteran, Asian American, rape survivor
Gunny……Male, 63, a Vietnam Veteran, owner of the bar in which the action of the play takes place
Three male Vietnam Veterans are slated to have a reunion on Veterans’ Day, 2007, at the bar owned by one of the three. One veteran does not show. In his stead, an Asian American woman arrives unexpectedly. In the course of the play, we discover that the woman is also a veteran, but from the Gulf War, and that she is the progeny of the third veteran who did not show to the reunion, because he has killed himself. One of the precipitating factors of this suicide is his daughter’s rape by one of the men in her unit. By the end of the play, we discover that the woman in the play is actually the product of a rape, an atrocity from the Vietnam War, which the two surviving veterans have denied until the present.
This play examines how both the Vietnam War and the Gulf War affected a number of individuals and how women and men experience military service differently. The issue of race contributes to the clash among the three characters on stage as well as the elements of gender, age, and class. The ending of the play points up the possibility of psychic healing by those battered by trauma.
Reviews of Veterans’ Day:
“Veteran’s Day”, written by Judith Glass Collins…a powerful script about powerful loss. Without strident politics, it addresses the difficult aftermath of being a “hero” in “a bad war.”