We have recently expanded the Blount County Public Library’s Vietnam Voices project by creating the Tennessee Vietnam War Roundtable, a monthly online conference for those interested in learning more about America’s involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.
We had our first meeting on Monday, June 8, and the featured speaker was Billy Minser, an artillery officer who was the “forward observer” for an infantry unit. Billy talks about what it meant to be a forward observer and what it took to call in artillery and airstrikes to support his unit. We have posted this video that includes part of what he said:
Billy was one of the editors of the first volume of Vietnam Voices: Stories of East Tennesseans Who Served in Vietnam, 1965-1975. This book is a set of transcriptions of some of the interviews we have conducted with veterans who served in-country in Vietnam.
We are working on a second volume and hope to have it published this summer.
Here’s the official description of the Tennessee Vietnam War Roundtable:
The Tennessee Vietnam War Roundtable (TVWR) is an online presentation and discussion program that is a part of the Vietnam Voices project of the Blount County Public Library and the Friends of the Blount County Library.
TVWR conducts periodic online meetings (via the Zoom conferencing software) that feature short presentations by knowledgeable speakers about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. These presentations are open to anyone who is interested in learning about the Vietnam War, and there is no charge for participating.
A major focus of this program is hearing from people who served in-country in the U.S. armed forces during that period. TVWR is not limited to this focus, however. We seek to hear from anyone who has expert knowledge about America’s involvement in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Voices project of the Blount County Public Library is an audio archive of interviews with Vietnam War veterans. In addition to the audio archive, the project to date has published one volume of these interviews that is available for sale in the library and on Amazon (https://bit.ly/vietnamvoices1).
TVWR typically meets as a Zoom conference, and the meetings last for a half-hour (30 minutes) or less. The meeting has a host and a speaker.
The speaker gives a 10- to 15-minute presentation. During this time, other participants are able to use the chat function of Zoom to ask questions or make comments. At the end of the presentations, the host and/or speaker will choose which questions to answer or comments to respond to.
Audio and video of the meeting are recorded using the Zoom recording function.
After the meeting is concluded, the video of the meeting will be edited and will be available on a TVWR YouTube channel.
Purposes of TVWR
The purposes of TVWR are
- to increase our knowledge and understanding of the American involvement in Vietnam, 1965-1975;
- to allow those who served in Vietnam an opportunity to tell their stories in a public format;
- to record and archive those stories for our historical record;
- to allow more people to participate in the Blount County Public Library’s Vietnam Voices project;
- to extend the reach of the Vietnam Voices project beyond the confines of Blount County and East Tennessee.
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