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Memories of Vietnam to be on display in downtown Morehead

Samantha Morrill

Veterans and historians will come together September 15 and 16 in downtown Morehead to entertain and educate the public on the history of the Vietnam War.

Organizers said a Living History of the Vietnam War, presented by the Rowan County Veterans Foundation, aims to pay tribute to the Vietnam Veterans and entertainers of the United Service Organizations through a reenactment of a Vietnam-era USO show and living history displays.

Bill Bolen is one of the curators for the Rowan County Veterans Foundation, as well as the project’s chairman. He said the idea for the event came about when talking to students and teachers who planned to participate in the foundation’s Veteran’s Day Essay Contest. He saw a need for more in-depth education about the history of the Vietnam War.

“We decided to put on an event in order to show some of the artifacts and some of the other items from the Vietnam War, and also to allow students to be able to come and actually talk to Vietnam veterans,” Bolen said. “We wanted to make this an educational experience for the children and also for the public at large.”

The USO show will be presented at the Battson-Oates Commons from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on September 15, and will feature local dancers and musicians, along with actual PSAs that would have been heard on the Armed Forces Radio Network in Vietnam. On September 16 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., tents and equipment from the time of the Vietnam War will be on display on the side lawn of the Rowan County Arts Center. Vietnam Veterans will also be present to explain the history behind the artifacts and to answer questions.

Bolen, a veteran of Vietnam himself, said the event is strictly educational, focusing mainly on the experience of those who served.

“We’re not going to get into politics in this event. The Vietnam War was a very divisive time in our history, and we’re not going to get in to that part of it,” Bolen said. “We’re simply here to celebrate the veterans who went and did his duty as he was asked to do.”

Both the USO show and the living history display are free and open to the public.