Scottsdale Public Library debuted its latest exhibit, the Vietnam Experience, to the public today.
The exhibit displays the memories and perspectives of the war through the eyes of local residents.
It’s important for people to see a time in history when things were changing, said Kathy Coster, 55, a manager at the Scottsdale Public Library.
“It was really the first time that you saw a population rise up and say ‘No, we’re not going to war,’” Coster said.
A Vietnam War timeline stretches the entire length of one side of the exhibit’s wall. The top depicts the events on the battlefield of Vietnam, while the bottom recounts the events at home.
The ReVentures is the volunteer group coordinating the project, Coster said. They are supported by money from the Arizona State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act.
The group has been meeting since May 2006 to work on this project, Coster said. Nearly 35 people worked on putting this exhibit together, she added.
“The more people learned about it,” Coster said, “the more people appeared to find out what this project is about.”
Coster noted that one woman from as far away as Sun City donated poetry written by her son during his time at Vietnam.
Others donated original uniforms worn by soldiers, and one worn by a Vietnamese soldier.
Other highlights include a transmission from a presidential telex, with President Ford saying to the American ambassador in Saigon that it’s time to get out, said Don Mayeski, the head volunteer coordinator of the exhibit.
Photos also are displayed from the battle field along with newspapers printed in Arizona and posters most likely stored in someone’s attic for decades.
On one side of the exhibit is a wall listing the names of the 623 Arizona vets that died during the Vietnam War. It has their name, age, Arizona hometown, branch of service, and where their lives were claimed.
The Vietnam Experience will be held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., for two-months, ending on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.
On the web: www.scottsdalelibrary.org