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It's Never Too Late To Say Thank You

Across the nation, Americans are uniting to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. 

The United States of America Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration began with the Presidential inaugural event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day 2012, and concludes on Veterans Day 2025.

As an official Vietnam War Commemoration Partner, Richland Library will be offering several programs, activities, and learning opportunites over the next several years to highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States as well as our allies, highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War, and most importantly honor and thank our nation's veterans. 

We're kicking off our efforts with a letter writing campaign! Stop by the Main library on Assembly Street to send a service member your thanks.

GIVE THANKS

In honor of Veteran's Day and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, Richland Library encourages you to write (and decorate) thank you notes for the brave men and women who have served our country. Let veterans from all eras know their service is not forgotten -- it's never too late to say "Thank You!" These notes will be shared in care packages to veterans via Operation Gratitude.

The Vietnam War era years were a turbulent and transformative time in our history. The culture, domestic and foreign politics, social movements, moral debates, and military service of that time continue to fascinate us today -- and rightly so. The commemoration is a great opportunity to look back at this history, and the American service men and women caught in the middle of it all.

Below are just a few of the many resources available to help you remember, reflect, and recognize that time period and its veterans.

* Richland Library is not a part of, or endorsed by, the Department of Defense *


Amazon Says: The man who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and who was the driving force behind its realization recounts the story of the political maneuvering, imaginati more...
Amazon Says: The man who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and who was the driving force behind its realization recounts the story of the political maneuvering, imaginative fundraising, and the design competition that brought the memorial into being less...
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Amazon Says: An epic narrative history that chronicles, for the first time, the experience of America's Vietnam veterans who returned home to fight a different kind of war. The courageous more...
Amazon Says: An epic narrative history that chronicles, for the first time, the experience of America's Vietnam veterans who returned home to fight a different kind of war. The courageous Americans who served in Vietnam fought two wars: one on the other side of the world and one when they returned home. The battle abroad took place in war-scarred Asian hamlets, rice paddies, and jungles where thousands of Americans risked life, limb, and spirit in a conflict few of them fully understood. The second war began when these same soldiers came home to face another fight, this one for the hearts and minds of their countrymen, and for their own health, sanity, and peace of mind. Home to War presents a vivid portrait of a generation of American warriors who faced rejection by the nation in whose name they fought and virtual abandonment by the government that sent them to risk their young lives in Southeast Asia. In spite of formidable obstacles, including the still-fresh physical and mental traumas of the war, these young veterans joined together and committed themselves to heroic battles on the home front, from their unsung role in the antiwar movement to their unflagging campaign for medical help and compensation for Agent Orange exposure and post-traumatic stress wounds. Home to War tells the gripping stories of these veterans and the social and political movements they inspired. In its pages you’ll meet Jan Barry, a disillusioned former West Point cadet who founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a volatile organization that would become a lightning rod for controversy and a beacon of hope for returning vets; Al Hubbard, a charismatic former Black Panther who led thousands of angry veterans to the steps of the nation’s capital to protest the war and the government’s shabby treatment of its veterans; Ron Kovic, whose outrageous — and courageous — stunts, uncensored comments, and provocative politics drew needed attention to the cause; Dr. Chaim Shatan, whose pioneering ‘rap groups’ speeded the psychological healing process for countless vets; Victor Yannacone Jr., who launched a precedent-shattering — and ultimately successful — legal case to gain compensation for veterans harmed by Agent Orange exposure; and many others whose inspiring struggles served themselves, their fellow soldiers, and their country. Home to War is a passionate work of contemporary history and an essential addition to the literature of America’s Vietnam experience. Encompassing some thirty years of activism, readjustment, and healing, it is a fitting tribute to the unbreakable courage, idealism, and decades-long endurance of this generation of American soldiers. less...
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Amazon Says: "Compelling, at times sad, at times energizing, always thought-provoking, there is no book like it regarding the essential nature of the U.S. military leadership." JOHN DEL V more...
Amazon Says: "Compelling, at times sad, at times energizing, always thought-provoking, there is no book like it regarding the essential nature of the U.S. military leadership." JOHN DEL VECCHIO Author of THE THIRTEENTH VALLEY LEADING THE WAY is a historic record of the rebuilding and reenergizing of America's armed forces, as told by 56 combat veterans who helped to bring it about. They bring to life the most critical moments they experienced in combat, from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to the air-strips of Panama and the deserts of Kuwait and Somalia. But just as riveting as their battle stories are their behind-the-scenes accounts of how confidence, discipline, and integrity were restored to the military after Vietnam by the work and example of its leaders. . . which led to the victory of Desert Storm. less...
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White Tiger by Michael Allen Dymmoch
Amazon Says: John Thinnes, a detective on the Chicago police force, and Jack Caleb, a well-known psychiatrist, were friends---unlikely friends, maybe, with very different lives, but men wh more...
Amazon Says: John Thinnes, a detective on the Chicago police force, and Jack Caleb, a well-known psychiatrist, were friends---unlikely friends, maybe, with very different lives, but men who liked and respected each other. And they had one significant experience in common: Both had been "in country" in Vietnam during the war. Their "labels" were different---Thinnes had been in the military police, Caleb a medic, a conscientious objector who chose to fight with his medical equipment and his ability as a doctor as his weapons, whether his patients were wounded on the field of battle or on the crowded, dangerous streets of Saigon. Arriving home, both men would have liked to forget the horrors of that war but could not banish them from their memory. They had left Vietnam, but Vietnam would never leave them. In the years since the war ended, Thinnes married and fathered a son, Caleb prospered with his psychiatric practice and found a gay lover. Later, a series of murders and rapes brought the police officer and the psychiatrist together in an oddly matched friendship, each contributing his special knowledge to try to solve crimes that were hard to unravel. But memories remain---ugly memories of maiming and killing on both sides, not only of soldiers but of innocent Vietnamese farmers and their families, of drug dealers and the city's poor. And now, on a morning shortly into the new millennium, Jack Caleb is listening to the radio and hears of the shooting death of a Vietnamese immigrant woman in Chicago's "Little Saigon," and a flashback leaves him trembling. Thinnes's reaction to the murder is of a different kind. He had been assigned to the murder case, but when his lieutenant learns that Thinnes had known the dead woman in Saigon, had even attended her marriage to his now-dead buddy, he takes him off the case, leaving Thinnes's partner to use her outstanding talents as a detective under the officer who takes John Thinnes's place. This, however, does not stop Thinnes from doggedly continuing the search for the woman's killer. Word on the street in Little Saigon is that the "White Tiger" is now in Chicago. "White Tiger" is the only known name for a mysterious and savage drug dealer and all-around criminal who terrorized even the toughest thugs in Vietnam. Both men dig, together and each in his own way, for the reason this innocent woman was murdered, both thoroughly aware that by searching in the deep, they are offering their own lives to the Tiger's wrath. Michael Allen Dymmoch has faultlessly linked the horrors of the war in Vietnam, from the viewpoints of those on both sides of the conflict and also from the hearts and minds of two very different men, and has woven them into a thrilling story of terror in the past and in the very present Now. less...
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Amazon Says: After forty years of silence, two daughters search for the truth they hope will set them free and the elusive peace their parents have never found. more...
Amazon Says: After forty years of silence, two daughters search for the truth they hope will set them free and the elusive peace their parents have never found. less...
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Amazon Says: Matterhorn, written by a Marine veteran of Vietnam over the course of thirty years, is a remarkable literary discovery--a powerful and timeless saga of men in combat. In the more...
Amazon Says: Matterhorn, written by a Marine veteran of Vietnam over the course of thirty years, is a remarkable literary discovery--a powerful and timeless saga of men in combat. In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. Two people stand in his way. The first is a well-loved, combat-weary lieutenant of his own age who desperately wants out of the bush but who does not want to leave his Marines with an inexperienced and overly ambitious officer. The second is an angry leader of the company's radical blacks, who has all the political skill, savvy, and ambition of the protagonist. As the young lieutenant experiences the costs of combat, he sees the terrible results of his actions and begins to question the value of ambition and skill over compassion and heart. less...
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In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason
Amazon Says: Vietnam's moral fallout is revealed to "Sam" Hughes, an eighteen-year-old Kentucky girl whose father was killed in the war and whose Uncle Emmett may be suffering from Agent O more...
Amazon Says: Vietnam's moral fallout is revealed to "Sam" Hughes, an eighteen-year-old Kentucky girl whose father was killed in the war and whose Uncle Emmett may be suffering from Agent Orange less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: One of the most resilient images of the Vietnam era is that of the anti-war protester — often a woman — spitting on the uniformed veteran just off the plane. The lingering more...
Amazon Says: One of the most resilient images of the Vietnam era is that of the anti-war protester — often a woman — spitting on the uniformed veteran just off the plane. The lingering potency of this icon was evident during the Gulf War, when war supporters invoked it to discredit their opposition. In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Indeed one soldier wrote angrily to Vice President Spiro Agnew that the only Americans who seemed concerned about the soldier's welfare were the anti-war activists. While the veterans were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their service, this sense of unease was, Lembcke argues, more often rooted in the political practices of the Right. Tracing a range of conflicts in the twentieth century, the book illustrates how regimes engaged in unpopular conflicts often vilify their domestic opponents for "stabbing the boys in the back." Concluding with an account of the powerful role played by Hollywood in cementing the myth of the betrayed veteran through such films as Coming Home, Taxi Driver, and Rambo, Jerry Lembcke's book stands as one of the most important, original, and controversial works of cultural history in recent years. less...
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Amazon Says: The monsoon winds swirling up from the South China Sea had doubled in magnitude as Marine Staff Sergeant Mike Sullivan stood on the roof of the American Embassy, watching Nort more...
Amazon Says: The monsoon winds swirling up from the South China Sea had doubled in magnitude as Marine Staff Sergeant Mike Sullivan stood on the roof of the American Embassy, watching North Vietnamese artillery pound Saigon’s airport. It was late in the afternoon of April 29, 1975, and for the past eight days the airstrip had been the busiest in the world as flight after flight of United States cargo planes ferried Vietnamese refugees, American civilians, and soldiers of both countries to safety while 150,000 North Vietnamese troops marched on the city. With Saigon now encircled and the airport bombed out, thousands were trapped. Last Men Out tells the remarkable story of the drama that unfolded over the next twenty-four hours: the final, heroic chapter of the Vietnam War as improvised by a small unit of Marines, a vast fleet of helicopter pilots flying nonstop missions beyond regulation, and a Marine general who vowed to arrest any officer who ordered his choppers grounded while his men were still on the ground. It would become the largest-scale evacuation ever carried out—what many would call an American Dunkirk. In a gripping, moment-by-moment narrative based on a wealth of recently declassified documents and indepth interviews, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin focus on the story of the eleven young Marines who were the last men to leave, rescued from the Embassy roof just moments before capture, having voted to make an Alamo-like last stand. As politicians in Washington struggled to put the best face on disaster and the American ambassador refused to acknowledge that the end had come and to evacuate, these courageous men held their ground and helped save thousands of lives. They and their fellow troops on the ground and in the air had no room for error as frenzy broke out in the streets and lashing rains and enemy fire began to pelt the city. One Marine pilot, Captain Gerry Berry, flew for eighteen straight hours and had to physically force the American ambassador onto his helicopter. Drury and Clavin gained unprecedented access to the survivors, to the declassified “After-Action reports” of the operation, and to the transmissions among helicopter pilots, their officers, and officials in Saigon secretly recorded by the National Security Agency. They deliver a taut and stirring account of a turning point in American history which unfolds with the heart-stopping urgency of the best thrillers—a riveting true story finally told, in full, by those who lived it. less...
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  • Vietnam War Commemoration Educational Resources
    From first-hand accounts and maps to an interactive timeline, these historically accurate materials and interactive experiences will help you better understand and appreciate the service of our Vietnam War veterans and the history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Operation Gratitude
    Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas.
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