Talking Service
A Discussion Program for Veterans

Talking Service is a discussion-based program for military veterans, active military personnel, military family members, and other citizens interested in the experience of war, military service, and the challenges of making the transition back to civilian life.

In these challenging times, the Great Books Foundation is continuing our outreach to our proud and loyal service members and veterans, their families, and others who are part of their lives by offering FREE online discussions and FREE two-part training sessions. If you are a person involved in the veteran community or veteran support services, these discussions and training sessions are for you.

Register for any or all of the discussions to talk about issues that are important to veterans, or join one of our training sessions to learn how to lead your own discussion group. A free e-book of Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian will be provided to all discussion and training participants.

Discussions and Training

We wrapped up the fall Talking Service discussion series with a thought-provoking conversation on Benjamin Busch’s “Dust to Dust”. Check back for future Talking Service discussions, training, and events. We offer private discussion groups and training sessions. If you would like to schedule a private training or discussion for your group, please contact us.

This was my first time participating in a virtual discussion program. I was encouraged that I found the conversation and overall experience to be much more engaging than I anticipated. I feel much more confident that if we have to host our own reading/discussion program remotely, participants can have a personal and meaningful experience.

Standing Down Discussion Participant

Standing Down

Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian is essential reading for anyone interested in reflecting on war and military service. The book’s 44 selections—which include short stories, memoirs, essays, poems, and journalism—are powerful works of literature that give voice to many of the authors’ own experiences of military life. Designed to prompt lively conversation, the selections in Standing Down are the focus of all Talking Service discussion programs.

Whether or not you are participating in a Talking Service group, Standing Down will provide you with many hours of stimulating reading.

Standing Down Cover used with discussions programs for veterans


We provide opportunities for military veterans to come together with their peers and others who are interested in military concerns to discover ways of reflecting on their lives and their time serving their country.


Our trained partners across the United States, who are skilled facilitators, hold discussion groups for 12 to 15 individuals centered around the anthology Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian, a collection of short, powerful readings about military service written by service members. Through the discussions, our participants find their voices to tell their own stories and express their own insights in ways that satisfy the basic human need to communicate meaningfully with others. More importantly, they reflect on their service experience and through conversation, begin the transition back to civilian life.

Since 2016, we have worked with numerous agencies that provide services for our veterans, and we have trained over 180 facilitators nationwide.

Talking Service is supported by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the CME Group.

National Endowment for the Humanities Logo
CME Group Logo