Note: The exhibit will now run through Aug. 10, not Aug. 11 as previously published.
To many today, especially students, it can be all too easy to simply view the Vietnam War as a piece of history. An upcoming exhibit in the K-State Student Union's William T. Kemper Art Gallery at Kansas State University will put faces to the facts in an unvarnished view of the war and those who fought it.
"Picturing Nam: U.S. Military Photography of the Vietnam War" opens June 30 and runs through Aug. 10. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The featured images are a small fraction of those taken by thousands of military photographers who were stationed in Vietnam and covered every aspect of the conflict. Now part of the National Archives, the photos focus on three themes: the landscapes of a country very different from home; the objects and artifacts of war; and the faces of individuals directly involved.
The exhibit strikes a chord with Kansas State University President Richard Myers, who served in the Vietnam War.
"This important traveling exhibit depicting the Vietnam War will be another powerful experience to offer the K-State family as we pursue meaningful ways to promote a military-inclusive climate at our university," Myers said.
Michael Bower, student veteran assistant in the university's Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, said, "I am extremely honored and humbled that the National Archives decided to showcase the 'Picturing Nam' traveling exhibit at our university. I think it will provide a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on the struggles endured by the young men and women during the Vietnam War."
More than simply the struggles of fighting, "Picturing Nam" presents a broad range of emotions, including the anxiety of being away from home, the determination of the soldiers and even compassion amidst conflict. Ultimately, the goal is to present the war from the uncensored point of view of those who fought it and keep our collective memory alive.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Union Program Council, in partnership with the Kansas Masons. "Picturing Nam" is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service. It is presented in part by the Lawrence F. O'Brien family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP and the National Archives Foundation.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Beth Bailey at 785-532-6571.