According to Sue Paul, the Executive Director of the Warhawk Air Museum, Vietnam veterans never got the respect they deserved. Paul says it’s time to put things right and look at the war as a military action, without all the politics and the Hollywood myths that have sprung up over time.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war, Warhawk teamed up with the Department of Defense to host a series of educational talks on the history of Vietnam.
“For me, it’s a way for us, for our state for our valley for the people who live here to say thank you by showing interest in learning the truth about this war,” says Paul.
The goal of the series is educate, honor and thank Vietnam Veterans. Paul says there was so much dissent at home during the war, that Vietnam veterans were caught in the middle.
“The public in the United States blamed the military men and women who were fighting there for their dislike of this military action. And it was traumatic then and it’s traumatic today. So our goal is to remove that black cloud.”
Paul hopes to do that through education. Her museum will examine the Vietnam War through six lectures. Once a month through August, Warhawk will host speakers and their perspectives on the war. They’ll talk about everything the ground war, the air war, POW’s, and how Vietnam affects today’s military.
The series includes a look at the unique role helicopters played in Vietnam. It will highlight the family of an Idaho POW, and how the families back on the home front coped with missing soldiers. And it will look at how the Vietnam war has affected today's military.
"The way we feel about our military today really needs to be the way we feel about all our Vietnam veterans. They did what they were asked to do by their country." Regardless of politics in Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam, "whether you like any of that or not, we treat our military today with such love and such respect and the Vietnam veterans deserved the same thing and never received it," says Paul.
The free series starts Saturday with an overview of the history and strategy of the war.
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