Visual arts

JFK Terminal 4 honors veterans

New York City residents and the John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4 community attended a special celebration in honor of Veterans Day. The Nov. 10 event spotlighted veterans and their time of service through a new partnership with a nonprofit organization that empowers veterans through various art forms.


JFK International Air Terminal (JFKIAT), a private operator of Terminal 4, hosted the celebration. It featured talented musicians who paid tribute to veterans with a powerful performance. Between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), ABM Industries, and JFKIAT, 32 veterans were commended for their service.

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A special collaboration

In a statement, JFKIAT President and CEO Roel Huinink spoke about the significance of this new event.

“This is a very special program that shines a light on these incredible veterans and their incredible stories, and we are proud to honor those who have served our country through this initiative with CreatiVets.” – Roel Huinink, President and CEO of JFKIAT

CreatiVets is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for relief and healing to those who have sacrificed and given time to serve. The organization’s services use songwriting, visual arts, music, and creative writing to help disabled veterans deal with service-related trauma, including post-traumatic stress. Through these resources, the organization fosters self-expression in a way that empowers veterans to turn their stories of trauma and struggle into art that inspires and motivates the pursuit of healing.

Event details

In preparation for the event, JFKIAT invited Terminal 4 veterans who wanted to join in the celebration. Those who participated attended collaborative workshops with CreatiVets and listened to songs created by other veterans. They also reflected on their personal stories and experiences through journaling.

Following the workshop sessions, the nonprofit honored veterans by featuring an original song that included elements of each veteran’s personal stories. After the song, CreatiVets unveiled a group portrait of the veterans.

Photo: JFKIAT

Brett Gillan, Program Director at CreatiVets, said:

“We are very excited to have this art installation at JFK Airport. We are always looking for ways to bridge the gap between veterans and civilians, and this is a great way to give civilians a taste of what to expect. what veterans face after returning from the protection of our country. We also hope that veterans will see this exhibit and know that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings after returning from war and that they will eventually apply for a CreatiVets program.- Brett Gillan, CreatiVets Program Director

Continuing Recognition for Veterans

The Veterans Day event marked the start of Terminal 4’s special relationship with CreatiVets. Huinink expects this to be an ongoing collaboration with more events to celebrate veterans in the future.

“As part of our commitment to supporting and celebrating our local community, we look forward to our continued collaboration with CreatiVets to spotlight Terminal 4 veterans throughout the year, and we encourage all passengers to see the portraits and listening to the captivating songs while travelling. via our terminal”, said Huinink.

The terminal will feature portraits of other CreatiVets veterans and will also include QR codes allowing travelers to listen to the songs based on their stories.