- A forum examining the far-reaching impact of the Vietnam War and
the turbulence of the 1960s will be the focus of a forum to be held
June 21 at the The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park
campus in Long Beach.
titled "The Long Journey Home from Vietnam," will begin
at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Advanced Education Center.
Part of Southern
Miss's award-winning and nationally recognized Vietnam Studies Program,
the forum will include presentations by two veterans of the Vietnam
War on their lives during and after the close of the conflict. Thomas
McCreary, who served with the 1st Cavalry in Vietnam during 1965,
returned to an America beset with racial conflict. McCreary joined
and became an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement, often
suffering jail sentences for his militancy.
in the forum will be Tran Ngoc (Harry) Hue. Hue served as a battalion
commander in the South Vietnamese Army and was eventually captured
during the invasion of Laos in 1971. After 13 harrowing years in
North Vietnamese prison camps, Harry was released only to live under
house arrest for seven more years. All this time Harry's American
adviser, Dave Wiseman, had been searching for his lost comrade,
showing his picture throughout the Vietnamese expatriate community
in an attempt to locate him. Finally the two were reunited, and
Wiseman helped Hue move to the United States in 1991.
The forum will
be hosted by the Southern Miss History Department and the university's
Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage and moderated by Southern
Miss history professors Dr. Andrew Wiest and Dr. Curtis Austin.
is of great historical importance, for it will demonstrate that
the Vietnam War did not end with the American withdrawal in 1973,"
said Wiest, an expert on the history of the Vietnam War. "For
many, Vietnamese and American alike, the war drug on for years,
as evidenced by Colonel Hue's solitary and desperate struggle for
his and his nation's freedom."
an expert in African-American history, said "McCreary's story
helps to show that Vietnam was not the only struggle in America
during the 1960s. In many ways the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights
Movement became intertwined. After McCreary's war ended in Vietnam,
his struggle continued in America, even to this very day."
there is still much to learn about the Vietnam War and hopes the
forum will help those who attend gain a better understanding of
the racial, social and political effects of the war.
these two men on the panel together," says Wiest, "will
be very valuable. Vietnam is in some ways the 'forgotten war,' and
within that wider framework the roles of the Vietnamese and African-American
veterans and their respective communities have in some ways received
the least attention."
Dr. Tim Hudson,
provost of Southern Miss Gulf Coast, is delighted the coast campus
in Long Beach will be the site of the event. "The forum will
help cement already strong ties between the coast and Hattiesburg
campuses as part of our nationally ranked academic programming,"
Hudson said. "In addition the forum will serve as an important
community outreach tool as Southern Miss Gulf Park continues its
mission of growth, academic excellence and community service. The
forum is a wonderful example of the university and the community
working together in unison."
and Austin are both working on ground-breaking books taken from
oral histories - Wiest on the South Vietnamese war experience and
Austin on the Black Panther movement. "Having these men speak
publicly," says Austin, "is important. After all it is
not just 'our' history, it is the public's history and through events
like this we can give the public access to this important, cutting-edge
Journey Home from Vietnam" is free and open to the public.
After prepared remarks made by both veterans, the floor will be
open to the audience for questions, and a reception will follow
the event. For more information, contact Dr. Wiest at (601) 266-5076
or Dr. Austin at (601) 266-6496.