Honoring our Veterans with Beyond Glory

You may know Tony Award-nominated actor and screen star Stephen Lang from his role as Elias Walker in the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts or as Col. Miles Quaritch in AVATAR, and Lang is also known for his work portraying Babe Ruth and Stonewall Jackson and has acted with the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Quentin Tarantino.  But on November 8, Stephen Lang was an actor with important stories to tell.
“I feel that our brave men and women have risked so much for us that it is our turn to reach out to them and we can do this through the arts,” veteran and Fox Cities P.A.C. patron Walt Zerrenner said. “Exploring creativity and artistic expression could be a vehicle to deal with PTSD and reintegrate our returning veterans into society.”
Zerrenner attended the first event of the day, the Honoring our Veterans Luncheon, at Fox Valley Technical College, where Lang spoke about how important sharing the stories of veterans is, not only so that people can understand and appreciate each veteran’s sacrifice but also how it shows the veterans themselves that their stories matter.
By showtime, patrons were eager to watch as Lang portrayed eight Medal of Honor recipients in his one-man show. The impactful, stirring nature of the performance was seen by community members, including veterans groups, who watched the sometimes familiar stories come to life on stage. Before the show, patrons also had the opportunity to enhance their experience by engaging with a display by the Military Veterans Museum.
“Performances such as Beyond Glory provide the opportunity for veterans and civilians to walk along side of one another to gain a common appreciation for the experiences our veterans have faced,” Terry Timm, a Fox Cities P.A.C. Board Member explained.
After the performance, Lang visited with patrons in the lobby taking the opportunity to greet them, take photos, and thank veterans for their service.
Lang reflected on why he felt performing this piece and recognizing the stories of veterans is close to his heart.
“All art, whether its theater, or painting or music, the making of art or the witnessing of art serves as a vehicle for self-discovery and self-knowledge. Art is vital in providing a feeling of solidarity with your fellow man and it acts in a really important way in overcoming feelings of alienation, isolation, of anger, of remorse of reticence and of shyness,” Lang said. “So to me, all art, and specifically theater, is an act of life, a life-sustaining act. So you know, I think it’s important for everyone and of course veterans, even especially so, they return into civilian life after having served and there’s all kinds of adjustments to make. I think anything that can be done to provide a pathway for them to express their own feelings about where they’ve been and what they’ve done and where they hope to go is really important.”
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