Sunday, July 26, 2009

Discussing the Vietnam War

Students and teachers in the high school where I substitute often ask me to speak to their classes about the Vietnam War.

Veterans Day, Memorial Day and when history classes study Vietnam are appropriate times for me to address the subject.

I present a PowerPoint presentation of select photos taken by me in 1966. The visual aid shows the landscape of Vietnam, the Vietnamese people, and American soldiers in battle dress uniform. I talk about infantry weapons, enemy tactics, living conditions, and the duties of a ground soldier. I tell them about search and destroy strategy, reconnaissance patrols, support and rescue missions, and road security. I avoid talking about gory details of particular battles.

I also discuss how war protesters, concerns about China and Russia resulted in a lack of political will to allow the military to defeat the aggressors from North Vietnam. This resulted in the defeat of South Vietnam and the unification of the country under the governance of Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi.

The students usually listen intently and ask questions. Teachers appreciate the first hand account as it complements the textbook and their lectures.

The pictures here were taken three months ago in two history classes. I showed students the Purple Heart Medal which I was awarded due to a combat wound. Most students have heard about the medal but have never seen one in its display case.

If you are a combat veteran of Vietnam, I encourage you to talk with high school students about your service. Go to your local high school to meet the principal and present an overview of what you can discuss with classes. Then meet a few history teachers for the same purpose. You can be a good resource for teachers to enlighten students about the war.

I wear a suit, white shirt, tie and black leather dress shoes when I make presentations.

Click on these pictures to enlarge and see quality students.

Have a good week!

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