The Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Jacksonville, Ark. is holding an event in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War on April 11.
Director of the Jacksonville Museum of Military History, DannaKay Duggar, said the museum felt the need to hold this event because the Vietnam War was so controversial, the soldiers returning from Vietnam were not given the welcome home they deserved.
“For years most Vietnam veterans were discouraged from speaking about their service in Vietnam,” Duggar said. “We are now in the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and it’s a good time to give the Vietnam veterans the welcome home they should have been given 50 years ago.”
Duggar said the museum has four main objectives for this event: to give the veterans the welcome home they deserve, to give the American public an opportunity to welcome the veterans home, to teach the younger generations to respect veterans in a way that older generations might not have done and to give the veterans a comfortable environment where they can share their experiences with other veterans and their families.
Junior Hayden Nooner said he knows basic information of the Vietnam War from his history classes in school and from the stories his grandfather used to tell him.
“We read and study about the Vietnam War, but attending the event will make it seem more relatable and not just a random event that happened 50 years ago,” Nooner said.
The event will include a map of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for the veterans and Gold Star families to sign, which will later be displayed in the museum. There will also be live music on the porch and a special exhibit “From Arkansas to The Silver Field of Vietnam” honoring Arkansans killed in the Vietnam War. The day will conclude with an honor and remembrance ceremony and dinner on the grounds for the veterans and their families.
Professor of history Dr. Paul Haynie said it is important to remember the service and sacrifice others made for the freedoms we enjoy today.
“If, as citizens of our nation, we forget any of our past conflicts, popular or unpopular, it will ill-serve us in the future,” Haynie said.”We must learn from our past, accept its lessons, grow and go forward.”
The event will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 11. Admission to the museum is free on this day.