By: Marcus Whitman, Staff Writer
Photo by Marcus Whitman
Award-winning, Baltimore-based author and military veteran Anthony Moll came to campus Nov. 14 to hold a discussion on what people imagine when they think of a veteran and/or service member. Moll also held discussions on all the diverse groups that serve in the military, and read sections of his book “Out of Step.”
The event was run by Director of the Military and Veterans Center Dario DiBattista for Veteran’s Week. According DiBattista, he wanted to find a way to provide outstanding support and services to both military veterans and their qualified dependents. He also wanted topics of diversity and inclusion as well as the shared experience of being in the military to be discussed.
“[Moll] is a good writer, so I think it is beneficial all around,” DiBattista said. “I also know from teaching a long time what an amazing experience it is to be able to read a book and then actually engage with the author of that book. And I wanted to make that experience as successful as possible, with any interested parties, but also the military veterans and also the people who are members of the Center for Student Diversity community.”
Moll had two discussions with the audience before the book reading. One was what comes to mind when thinking of a veteran and veteran activism.
Moll read from his book with one passage emphasizing his camouflage uniform making everyone look alike and undisguisable from others when in the military.
“We call the gear were wearing full battle rattle, helmet, armor vests, mesh camo vests were wearing over that,” Moll read. “Black gloves, black boots, olive drab gas masks, attached to carrier. We’re wearing bright green, hash green safety glasses, I found them in a dust covered box in the back of our storage conex a week prior.”
Towson student Emily Seth described the book reading as “an informative experience” and “it makes me want to go to more readings in the future.”
“The reading itself is what really got me because I haven’t read the book yet,” Seth said. “One of the lines that he read just really hit me hard — ‘It’s almost always when we’re young, isn’t it?…fighting for something we think we believe in.’ That line especially really hit me hard. The two pieces that he read from were very artfully done. Seeing the art in creative nonfiction is wonderful.”
DiBattisa mentioned one thing he hoped people took away from the reading is “a new empathy, a new understanding, a new perspective that they hadn’t had before.”
“That is my favorite thing about storytelling, when you do it well it enhances somebody’s overall life experience to learn from others,” DiBattisa said. “I think there might be some challenging conversations to come up on matters of identity and sexual orientation, but I think that is okay because, what other unique opportunities to have those conversations again at a learning institution.”
Towson University’s Military Veterans Center hosted the event in conjunction with the Center for Student Diversity.