Grammy and Dove Award-nominated songwriter Bob Regan founded Operation Song, a music-based therapy program, in 2012, collaborating with Grammy Award-nominated songwriter Don Goodman and a music therapist. Operation Song’s mission is to empower Veterans and active duty military to tell their stories through songwriting.
The stories they have to tell are powerful. That’s why VA is launching of a new series honoring Operation Song Veterans through our #VeteranOfTheDay profiles. In cooperation with Operation Song, each feature will recognize a Veteran whose story is uniquely told through a song.
The alternative music-based program is primarily based in VA medical centers throughout Tennessee. Operation Song has also held retreats at Fort Campbell along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and Fort Benning, Georgia.
Helping Veterans express and share their experiences through music, the songs break down barriers in a way simple words cannot.
“Music therapy has given me a voice for all of the things that I couldn’t say,” said Joshua Hulsey, an Iraq War Army Veteran. “It really opens up my heart and gives me a release.”
Each song, intimately represents hard-fought journeys. Running the gamut of raw human emotions. From triumphant to sorrowful, each song is threaded with the spirit of American backbone and grit.
The song “Healing Waters” — listen to it above — was written by Veteran Charlie Trawick with songwriters Goodman and Regan at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The song was inspired by Trawick’s involvement with Project Healing Waters, a fly fishing group dedicated to the rehabilitation of disabled active military personnel and Veterans.
In some of the other songs, Marine Corps Veteran Danny Williams’ song rocks out with, “We came home to peace, but we fight each day.” Army Veteran Ryan Taylor ends his song with the number to the Veterans Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255 (Veterans, Press 1)
These Veterans wielded weapons in war and now they are wielding the power of their voice in songs of healing.
About Operation Song
Operation Song has spent the last five years bringing songwriting to the military and Veteran community to help with healing, service-related issues and injuries. A 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville, Operation Song holds weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsors events and group retreats throughout the Southeast. Those they serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. In a typical session, the songwriter listens and encourages the participant to lay out the “puzzle pieces” of his or her experience. Together, they arrange those pieces into verses and choruses. The result is a complete song that they can call their own. Operation Song™ serves Veterans of all conflicts. For more information about Operation Song, visit their website: http://www.operationsong.org/
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.