Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library debuted its latest exhibit, The Vietnam Experience, to the public this week.
The exhibit displays memories and perspectives of the Vietnam 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 library manager.
“It was really the first time that you saw a population rise up and say, 'No, we’re not going to war,’” Coster said.
“There’s a lot of similarities when you go down this wall, think about this time in history and think about our time in history since then,” Coster said of the war timeline that stretches the length of one side of the exhibit’s wall.
The top depicts the events on the battlefields 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, and about 35 people worked to put it together, she said.
One woman from Sun City donated poetry written by her son during his time in 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 Gerald Ford telling the American ambassador in Saigon that it was time to get out, said Don Mayeski, the head volunteer coordinator of the exhibit.
Photos from the battlefields along with newspapers printed in Arizona and posters also are displayed.
On one side of the exhibit is a wall listing the names of the 623 Arizonans that died in the war. It includes their names, ages, hometowns, branches of service and where they died.
Music from the Vietnam era will play in the background while visitors explore the exhibit.
“I want to hold your hand,” the No. 1 hit by the Beatles in 1964, is one of many songs on the playlist.
Slideshows of photos donated to the project also will be displayed.
“It looks good. People that don’t know about it . . . they just can’t imagine America doing something like this, even though we’re flat back doing it again, almost,” said Scottsdale resident Bill Tomlinson, who was checking out the exhibit Wednesday.
Tomlinson said he was in the Army during the beginning of the war in the 1960s.
What: The Vietnam Experience
Where: Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
When: Now through Veterans Day, Nov. 11.