AUSTIN (KXAN) – This week the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum will host The Vietnam War Summit. Historians, world leaders, and veterans will examine one of the most confusing wars in United States history.
Throughout the week “The Wall that Heals” will stand alone the LBJ presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin. This half sized replica of the Vietnam War Memorial is open to the public, for the public to see and remember the names of those who gave their lives in the conflict.
Central Texas would have little connection with Vietnam if it wasn’t for one man – President Lyndon Baines Johnson. America’s war effort was greatly expanded under his watch in the 1960s. It left a generation with a lot of questions.
“The Wall that Heals” and the Vietnam War Summit hope to answer some of those questions.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have a compete answer as to why my brother died. But I want to know the facts and I want to know everything I possible can,” said Leah Smith Angers. She volunteers at “The Wall that Heals” and hopes other families see their loved one’s names on the wall and they find some closure.
“A lot of people got hurt and I’m not sure it was worth it,” said Don Dorsey, “I never thought we needed to be there to be honest.”
Dorsey is the President of the Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans. He led a Marine sniper unit during the war and served in Southeast Asia for one year.
“I went because I’m an American first. My love of country was stronger than my hatred for the war. I wouldn’t want to be an old man feeling like a coward,” said Dorsey.
58,249 Americans lost their lives in Vietnam. 3,415 of those were Texans.
A host of speakers will lead panels discussing aspects of he Vietnam War:
- Current Secretary of State John Kerry is a Vietnam vet. He served for four months as the officer in charge of a swift boat in 1969. When he returned he became a critic of the war.
- Henry Kissinger was the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor for President Richard Nixon.
- Ken Burns is a documentary filmmaker. Next year he will release a ten part, eighteen hour, documentary on he Vietnam War for PBS.
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