“Central Minnesota Remembers Vietnam” Exhibit To Open April 21
“So, this was his field map and the coordinates are actually for bombing coordinates, so that’s what it indicates if somebody would give them a call and they would have to figure out where they were bombing using the coordinates,” said Mary Warner, Morrison County Historical Society Executive Director.
Maps, uniforms and photographs line the walls at the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum.
“Well, it isn’t just about the Vietnam vets, the combat soldiers,” Warner said. “It’s anybody who lived through the era and has some kind of story to tell that is related to the war.”
The museum has been collecting local artifacts to put in the exhibit in exchange for stories.
“All of the stories are incredibly deep, even if they haven’t told me very much; I mean, it could be a paragraph or two,” Warner said.
These stories have come at a time of great discovery of the Vietnam era.
“We’re at that time period with the Vietnam War where people who lived through the worst parts of going into combat, they are coming to an age where they’re now ready to talk about it,” Warner said.
Most of the artifacts in the exhibit are on loan from various people throughout Central Minnesota, and each unique piece bringing a new part of history to life.
“The objects themselves help us to tell the story and it really triggers stories for people,” Warner said.
Examples on display include the POW/MIA bracelets worn for soldiers who were Prisoners of War or Missing in Action until they returned home.
“It’s a great encapsulation that kind of shows the home front connection to the war,” Warner said.
The exhibit has been a learning process for the museum.
“Now we know there is so much more that we don’t know,” Warner said. “There were far more stories than we were able to tell.”
One of those is uncovering more stories of the Minnesota Eight, who left history right here in Morrison County.
“They were going to draft offices, breaking in and trying to destroy the draft records so that people would not get drafted,” Warner said.
Such actions came during a war that defined the generation, and these stories from war will now live well into the future.
If you have a story you would like to share, you can do so at the exhibit opening on Sat. April 21 from 2- 4 p.m. at the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum in Little Falls. The exhibit will be available during regular hours (from 10-5) on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.