Long Island City, U.S.A. – Osprey Publishing, a leading publisher of books for history buffs, has four suggestions to help Americans commemorate Veterans Day this year.
Make a military history pilgrimage. Thousands of Vietnam veterans will be gathering on the Mall in Washington, DC from November 5-10 for a reading of the over 58,000 names that have been inscribed into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The wall turns 30 this year. There is a traveling exhibition of the wall, which will be in Dearborn, MI from October 25-28. Afterwards, it will be making stops in Richland, MI and Coatsville, PA. While in Washington, visitors can stop by the National Archives to see their new exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Listen to a veteran’s story. The Library of Congress has an ongoing program called “The Veterans History Project” whose mission is to collect oral histories of war from American veterans. Many of these interviews are available on-line at www.loc.gov/vets. In addition, Texas Tech University has an oral history archive that is devoted entirely to the Vietnam War. Audio and video clips from the archive can be viewed at http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu.
Talk to your children. The Veterans Administration has reading material, activities, and lesson plans for parents and teachers on their website: www.va.gov/kids. There are separate activity programs for elementary-aged children and older kids.
Read a book about war. Osprey Publishing has two new titles that tie in to the 50th anniversaries. The first is The Boys of ’67: Charlie Company’s War in Vietnam by Andrew Wiest. It explores the tour of duty of a unique army division that trained in Kansas, was shipped out to Vietnam in a navy vessel, and fought together in the Mekong Delta. Most soldiers during the war were sent to Vietnam on commercial jetliners and deployed with complete strangers. To complete the book, Wiest spent three years interviewing more than 50 members of the unit. Sadly, the members of Charlie Company suffered 80% casualties during their year-long tour of duty.
The second title from Osprey is called Blue Moon over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The book looks at the role played in the crisis by a group of dare-devil pilots who flew low-altitude reconnaissance missions over Cuba in order to photograph Soviet missile sites. Unlike the photos taken by high-altitude U-2 planes, the Blue Moon photos were human readable. During the thirteen days of the crisis, these photos proved decisive in convincing the Soviets to back down. The book is co-written by USN Captain William Ecker who was commander of the Blue Moon missions and Kenneth Jack, who is an historian and webmaster for the navy photographer squadron, VFP-62.