UW-Fox Valley Logo

UWFox Hosts 'Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories' Program

[This page is preserved for historical and reference purposes only. The information contained on it may no longer be current.]

Vietnam War Stories

The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, in collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), is hosting a very special program entitled, “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories,” on Tuesday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Perry Hall on the Menasha campus.  As part of this program, the public is invited to attend a screening of the WPT video production of the same name, that is expected to run approximately 35 minutes, followed by a discussion of personal Vietnam War experiences by four Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans and an Iraqi War veteran, facilitated by Dr. Steve Sheehan, associate professor of history at UWFox.

Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans who are expected to participate in the program at UWFox include Fox Cities residents Richard Erck, Roy Rogers, Lowell Peterson, and Za Blong Vang.  Veteran Steve Acheson served in the military for five years and was deployed to Iraq for 13 months during 2005-2006.

WPT’s full production of “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” features dozens of veterans from all regions of the state who reflect on their personal memories of the Vietnam War as well as their experiences during and after the war.  

Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” engages the community by providing tools and education for Wisconsin libraries to host local screening and discussion events featuring the film, local veterans and historians; creating community dialogue and action to honor the veterans and discover the impact of this war in their local community

More than 57,000 Wisconsin men and women served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Their stories provide valuable insight into a war that continues to profoundly affect American culture, politics and the lives of Wisconsin’s Vietnam War veterans and their families. Like many veterans, Vietnam vets have been reluctant to share their war-time experiences. Because of the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War and the often hostile response the Vietnam vets experienced upon their return home, these veterans have carried a greater burden. Few were thanked or welcomed home.

They tended to put away their uniforms and tried to put away their memories that cannot be forgotten. The “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” project gives these veterans a forum to share their stories so that the public can better understand their experience and the Vietnam War’s impact on all our lives. As the veterans speak of their memories, their struggles and their losses, the documentary offers a perspective of military service that is neither romanticized nor demonized, it is simply humanized.

“Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories”is a long-form television documentary that will premiere on WPT at 8:00 p.m. on May 24, 25, and 26, a week prior to Memorial Day 2010, as well as streaming on the wisconsinstories.org website. It will also be available on DVD.

The program's three hours will include the personal stories of Wisconsin veterans who served in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. While the so-called "TV War" brought the Vietnam conflict into America's living rooms, there remained personal stories that have not been heard. Until now, the Vietnam veterans haven’t had an opportunity to share their accounts of valor, pride of service, devotion to duty and the intensely personal stories of loss. They may not change people’s views of the war, but may change our feelings about the men and women who fought it.

“Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” will challenge the conventional image of the Vietnam veteran, replacing it with the more accurate representation of veterans as neighbors, civic leaders, successful businessmen and contributing citizens. It will make all too clear the disservice they received when they returned home. Highlights from the series are available at http://www.wpt.org/wisconsinstories/vietnam

 As part of WPT’s “Reel to Real” series, “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” is also working with UW System journalism students to engage them in a new digital story collection project.  WPT is providing digital cameras to help students to collect the response of audiences, as well as individual veterans who wish to share their personal story. 

For more information on “Reel to Real: Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” (or any of the Reel to Real events), please contact Lynne Blinkenberg at lynne.blinkenberg@wpt.org.  Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories is a partnership of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more information about the “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” program at UWFox, contact Dave Hager, director of University Relations, at 920-832-2611 or email david.hager@uwc.edu.

Posted 04/26/2010