On Veteran’s Day, I spoke to the middle schoolers at Quest Academy in Palatine, Illinois about my research on veterans and peace. It was great to be back at my alma mater and spend time with the 80 or so students. Despite the snowstorm happening outside, the students were really engaged and had some interesting questions about the work being done in Vietnam, particularly with the remediation of the Da Nang Airport.
I was pleased to find out that the students already knew a little about the Vietnam War, since it’s so rarely taught in schools these days. Young people’s lack of knowledge about the war and its consequences is one of the reasons I decided to write this book. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Already, we are seeing the effects of this amnesia. Gallup has found that young people are the only group of Americans today that think fighting in Vietnam was not a mistake. I am hopeful, however, that young people like myself can help teach the past to those to young to have lived it.
One thought on “Speaking at Quest Academy on Veteran’s Day”
Thanks for your thoughtful story about vets returning to Vietnam. Perhaps you could be interested in learning about the D.O.V.E. Fund. (Development of Vietnam Endeavors) We are a group of vets and concerned citizens who have been returning to Vietnam for nearly 15 years to build schools, water projects, and help with scholarships and micro-finance. We also help lepers and victims of Agent Orange, we provide mobility chairs for the disabled and solar lights for homes without electricity. We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization that raises funds from dinner auctions, golf outings and charitable contributions from donors who have a connection with Vietnam. Many vets who have returned have found a remarkable sense of peace and reconciliation while helping the Vietnamese. I hope you’ll check us out and learn more about the good work some Vietnam vets are doing in Vietnam.