(Left to right) Military veterans Anthony Torres, Hipólito Arriaga, Andrew Cuthbert and Allen Minor block out a transition in "Conscience Under Fire," written by the four men and directed by Teo Castellanos (center).
For the last three months, four veteran servicemen have been writing and workshopping "Conscience Under Fire," a series of monologues premiering Sunday, April 19 at The Betsy Hotel on South Beach.
The production, funded by the Knight Foundation and presented by Miami Dade College’s MDC Live Arts, is directed by Miami actor/writer/director Teo Castellanos and performed by four veterans who also wrote the show.
The Star-Spangled Banner was not the only national anthem sung at Tuesday’s Veterans' Day service at the University of Miami.
Philippe Létrilliart, the French Consul General, was a guest of honor at the proceedings, where he awarded three Legion of Honor medals to current South Floridians who fought in France.
The Legion of Honor is the highest decoration in France. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize people with exceptional merit. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur were both recipients.
Rudy Watt, left and in foreground above, and Neal Stark enjoy a fishing trip in Sawgrass Park, fishing for large-mouth bass on Tuesday, April 9. Rudy caught the first fish. He is a veteran with PTSD, and the fishing trips are part of his recreational therapy. He goes on fishing and scuba-diving trips with other veterans but has formed one of his closest bonds with Stark, a hairdresser and competitive angler.
The trip begins with a high-speed ride on a black flats boat, deep into the wilderness of Sawgrass Recreational Park in Weston. The captain picks a spot, anchors and then digs into one of the boat’s many hidden compartments to select the bait, settling on two “wacky worms.”
The two fishermen set up the fishing rods, crack a few jokes and talk about strategy — “When you feel him tug that line a couple times, point your rod right at him and hit him, hit him good.” They begin casting, looking for bass and anything else that might bite.
A U.S. Army veteran from Miami-Dade County has been told he's not "honorable" enough to qualify for a veteran's transit pass and he's filed a lawsuit against the county transit agency.
It's a dispute over words and how the military grades soldiers as they return to civilian life. But a benefit hanging in the balance could potentially make a big difference in the lives of low-income veterans.