As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I was determined to mark the 50th anniversary of the height of the Vietnam War with an exhibit here at the National Archives. Our records, some recently declassified, continue to yield discoveries and provide insight and evidence for people seeking to understand the war.
In Remembering Vietnam, we are sharing the memories of veterans, as well as others involved in or affected by the war. The exhibit examines the human consequences of war, and provides a variety of lenses through which to view history. It attempts to answer questions that have remained unanswered for five decades.
For me, the Vietnam War was an important period of my life that contributes to who I am today, and I am pleased to see our exhibit receiving recognition and acclaim from veterans, museum visitors, as well as the media. Washington Post writer Michael E. Ruane covered the exhibit and interviewed me in the article titled “A Veteran’s View of Vietnam.”
I am especially honored to know that this story of the Vietnam War will now live in the Congressional Record. On November 15, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recognized this important exhibit on the Senate floor and asked Congress’s consent to print Ruane’s article in the Record.
In his statement, Mr. Leahy said:
Mr. President, long before his confirmation as the 10th
Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero proudly served our
Nation in a different capacity, as a Navy corpsman in Vietnam. Today,
with the help of Mr. Ferriero’s unique personal perspective and
professionally informed guidance, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at
the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is currently exhibiting
a new collection of remarkable documents that illustrate some of the
Vietnam war’s biggest controversies.
Mr. Ferriero and his team are to be thanked for painstakingly
determining which of the countless relevant texts housed in the
National Archives best told this often misunderstood story. We can be
sure, however, that few if any archivists are better suited with
experience and vision for this task than Mr. Ferriero.
With this exhibit, Mr. Ferriero and his team honor the memory of
those who served in Vietnam, while also fulfilling a sacred obligation
to accurately preserve even our most contentious history so that we may
strive to avoid repeating past mistakes. Today I would like to pay
tribute to the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, and his
team and ask unanimous consent that a Washington Post article titled,
“A Veteran’s View of Vietnam,” be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
From the Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2017: A Veteran’s View of Vietnam
Read Senator Leahy’s statement in full here.
The National Archives is grateful to the government leaders, distinguished military and Vietnam veterans, and renowned historians who have endorsed our efforts through the Remembering Vietnam Honorary committee. Learn more about this defining era in American history when you visit our latest exhibit, “Remembering Vietnam.”