I always have at least a dozen research ideas percolating in my head in regard to Generation X. One of them is the impact of the Vietnam War on Gen Xers who were raised by veterans of the war.
This Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the end of that war. On May 22, some 30,000 veterans from 27 states will attend LZ Lambeau, one of the largest gatherings of Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans in U.S. history. I wish I could go!
As of today, states represented include Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Before it’s over, Oklahoma will be added to that list.
Named for the landing zones that military service members were deployed to during Vietnam, LZ Lambeau was developed by a partnership of Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the Wisconsin Historical Society and many veterans organizations.
The full LZ Lambeau weekend of free events, which is expected to draw 100,000 people, will include an education day on Friday for high school students; a new exhibit by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum; a powerful portrait display; Vietnam-era military vehicles; music; fellowship opportunities and more. The Moving Wall™, the iconic traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will also be on display. (I had the privilege of seeing the Moving Wall in Midwest City in 1993, and in 1998, I saw the Vietnam Memorial in D.C.) There are also plans for a cross-state motorcycle Honor Ride of Vietnam veterans from La Crosse to Green Bay for the weekend events.
I came across a great photo on Flickr of Jack, a Vietnam Veteran, and his Gen X daughter, Molly. Go read about here. (All rights are reserved, so I can’t post it here.)
Chances are you’ve probably never seen the Pittsburgh Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I really like it. The subject matter includes a little Gen Xer reaching for his father’s cheek as he’s coming home from war. Check it out.
Do you know anyone who served in Vietnam?
1973 Photo Credit: ErnHarns via Flickr; image of the statue by chaunceydavis818 via Flickr