Cultural Speaker Series To Honor Veterans

Cayuga Community College’s Cultural Speaker Series will celebrate veterans with an upcoming presentation illustrating the experiences and memories of some of Central New York’s service men and women.

In the third presentation of Cayuga’s Cultural Speaker Series, Joe Messineo and Richard Calagiovanni will discuss the Central New York Veterans History Project, which documents and preserves the experiences of veterans and is a part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. The presentation is November 12, 2018, from 4-5 p.m. in the Student Lounge at Cayuga’s Auburn Campus. Admission is free for veterans and Cayuga students. General admission is $5.

The Central New York Veterans History Project documented the stories of more than 60 Upstate New York veterans of World War II and the Vietnam War in video interviews. Messineo and Calagiovanni will discuss the project and what they learned, and will also play clips of interviews with veterans.

The presentation is one of the first events in Cayuga’s Veterans Week, an annual campus-wide effort to thank veterans for their service.

“This is a special project by Joe and Richard that honors our veterans and preserves veterans’ own words and experiences for everyone to remember,” said Emily Cameron, Cayuga’s Assistant Director of Community Education and Workforce Development, who helped organize the series. “I know this project has changed Joe’s and Richard’s lives, and we’re fortunate to be able to learn about this project and how it impacted the veterans they interviewed.”

Messineo said the project started in 2015 when his wife, a court reporter, was transcribing interviews of veterans from other parts of the country and they decided to undertake a similar effort in Central New York. As far as Messineo knows, no one else has undertaken a project of this scale in the region.

While Messineo and Calagiovanni will discuss their experiences interviewing the veterans, a large portion of the presentation will feature some of the best video clips of the veterans’ experiences.

“Featuring our video interviews really keeps the spirit of our project going, because it’s about the voice of the veterans more than it is us,” said Messineo. “We’ll offer some insights and highlights, but the videos are really some of the best of our different interviews.”

All proceeds from the event will go to Honor Flight Syracuse, an organization that flies veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to their service.

Advanced registration for the Central New York Veterans History Project presentation is recommended but not required. To register, visit

For more information about Cayuga’s Cultural Speaker Series, including details about future presentations, visit