The Student Connection

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Syracuse Mentor Peggy Lynn '05 Works with Women Veterans in Writing and Songs

By Helen Edelman, Manager, Exchange

September 6, 2011

“They joined the military to serve our country but came home to find that few others knew what they had endured.” -- Benita Zahn, anchor, WNYT-News Channel 13, Albany.

Peggy Lynn, Syracuse MentorSyracuse mentor Peggy Lynn ‘05 (at left, in photo at right, singing with musician Dan Duggan, her husband, last March), led song-writing workshops for women veterans at a recent retreat designed to help them deal with issues that made serving in the military difficult for females, at the Wiakwaka Holiday House in Lake George. Lynn also composed the words to the song the women are singing in this broadcast. SUNY Empire State College's Office of Veteran and Military Education sponsored lunch for participants during the retreat.

“Until recently, women veterans had very few places to turn, but a unique, new program is helping women veterans find their voice,” said WNYT-News Channel 13 North Country reporter Mark Mullholland, covering the three-day event. “They come as strangers but leave as best friends. Women, all military veterans, are drawn to the shores of Lake George, in the Wiawaka Holiday House. Here, they are all the same. No men to denigrate them or treat them like second-class citizens.”

The women, who come from all over the country and different branches of the military, share living quarters and meals as they cope with “wounds that have not healed,” Mulholland reported. Wiawaka, a peaceful retreat for women since 1903, sits on 1,500 feet of lakefront.

This is the third consecutive year women veterans have come gathered from all over the country and organizers have no plans to stop.

Lynn, a SUNY Chancellor's Award Winner, has been a folk singer for many years. She has taught courses at the Women's Studies Residency and CNYC that intertwine woman's history and music. Lynn has been referred to by poet Maurice Kenny as "The Voice of the Mountains." For more information, go to www.quercusmusic.com.