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May 25, 2012

Veterans History Project Recognizes Vietnam Veterans with Web Feature

Fifty years later, the Vietnam War remains part of the nation’s collective consciousness. For the veterans who served during this era, this conflict has particular meaning.

The Veterans History Project (VHP) has launched the latest installment in its Experiencing War website presentation, titled "Vietnam War: Looking Back, Part 1." The website feature, one of 37 created thus far, highlights the wartime stories of veterans who served during the Vietnam War. These remarkable and intriguing stories are digitized and accessible on VHP’s website,

"Veterans who served during the Vietnam War are still affected to this very day by what they saw, heard and experienced, and this new web feature provides a peek into some of the most intimate details from that era," said Veterans History Project Director Robert Patrick. "The Veterans History Project is honored to join the Department of Defense and the entire nation in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War – a period in history that will never be forgotten."

Vietnam veteran Tom Hagel said, "When we think of war, whether it’s Vietnam or any other war, we think of it as a unitary subject … but there are millions of Vietnam Wars."

One of the veterans spotlighted in VHP’s new feature is Second Lt. Michael Burns, an Air Force pilot who tells the harrowing tale of being shot down on his 18th combat mission over North Vietnam and spending the next 56 months in captivity. Others include Army chaplain David Polhemus and Navy nurse Gail Gutierrez, both of whom share how they worked to heal the mental and physical wounds of the war and witnessed firsthand the toll that it took on their fellow servicemen and women and themselves. Air Force Col. Frank Tomlinson and Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ralph Garcia describe what it was like to go on to have careers in the military, while other veterans struggled to put their service experiences behind them.

"Vietnam War: Looking Back, Part 1" is the first of four Vietnam War-related features to be launched over the next year. The stories shared are but a few of the "millions of Vietnam Wars" embodied by the stories of Vietnam veterans. These interviews represent a wide variety of branches, service locations and military roles. Collectively, they illuminate the dramatic and ongoing effects of the war on those who participated.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of America’s war veterans from WWI through the current conflicts, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to advance the knowledge and creativity of the American people through its collections, programs and services. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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PR 12-105
ISSN 0731-3527

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