By Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L Louis Taylor (Army Reserve)October 10, 2012
CHICAGO -- Chicago Ideas Week kicked off its Ideas Festival Oct. 8, with a 'Military Talk' session at the Goodman Theater in downtown Chicago.
The Military Talk focus was taking the audience from the front lines to the home front, and then explaining a Soldier's readjustment to life after war.
The evening began with JROTC Cadets from Gurdon Hubbard High School that provided the Color Guard.
Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson, Deputy Chief, U.S. Army Reserve; Tom Brokaw, Journalist and host of event; Retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State, National Security Advisor & Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan; Retired Army 1st. Lt. Melissa Stockwell, Iraq War Veteran & World Champion Paratriathlete; Taryn Davis, Founder, The American Widow Project and Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director & Founder, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), addressed the event attendees.
Discussions explained how Veterans acclimate to civilian life and that Veterans are an investment not a charity case; stressing that Veterans bring a multitude of unique skill and values from the Army.
Stockwell, the first female to lose a limb during Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 13, 2004 talked about the day she lost her leg, then when on to explain how it has not disabled her but made her stronger.
Stockwell is also a 2008 Paralympian in the sport of swimming and the current 2x Paratriathlon World Champion.
The take away message from the event was to understand what a Soldier's life is like, the training, experience, and values that a Soldier holds, and the real value in hiring a veteran.