Organizers of the My Lai Memorial Exhibit have announced a full schedule of chats and discussions to be held during the exhibit on Sept. 7 and 8 at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, as well as a follow-up session Sunday, Sept. 9 at the John Brown Farm in Lake Placid.
The acclaimed My Lai Memorial Exhibit is a project of Chicago Veterans for Peace (VFP), and honors the Vietnamese people who died as a result of our political and military actions in their country during their American War. The exhibit supports the mission of VFP, which is to seek justice for veterans and victims of war, expose the true costs of war and to work for peace. It has received enthusiastic reviews on a national tour that has included the cities of Santa Fe, San Diego, Fresno, San Francisco, Spokane and Iowa City.
The Exhibit will be open from noon until 7:30 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 7, and Saturday, Sept. 8, with evening discussions both days.
On Friday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. at the Grange hall, local artist and exhibit designer Mac MacDevitt will be on hand to answer questions from those in attendance. An opening reception will be held at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, the Conroy brothers from West Chazy will present “Healing the Wounds of War in Vietnam,” an informal discussion with a Q&A to follow. All three brothers’ lives were impacted by the war. Ralph “Pete” Conroy was an infantryman, while Mark was the Vietnam Director for the East Meets West Foundation for more than 20 years after the war. John W. Conroy is a Vietnam vet and a journalist. All the brothers have traveled extensively in Vietnam since the war, witnessing the damage caused by the war and the remediation projects implemented by the East Meets West Foundation.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, MacDevitt will again be on hand at 2 p.m. to meet visitors and answer questions. At 6 p.m., Martha Swan, executive director of John Brown Lives!, a nonprofit organization supporting human rights and social justice issues, will hold an informal chat and discussion.
Then at 7:30 p.m., Louis Bickford, will present “Confronting the Past: How Societies Deal with Past Atrocity.” Drawing on his 20-plus years as a human rights activist and consultant, Louis will discuss ways in which Argentina, South Africa, Bosnia and other countries have handled the aftermath of conflict, including war-crimes tribunals, truth commissions and memorialization.
On Sunday, Sept. 9, the program continues at the John Brown Farm in Lake Placid. From noon to 3 p.m., Gerry Zahzvi, professor of history and Director of the Documentary Studies Program and the Public History Program at SUNY-Albany, will lead an oral history workshop, “Asylum Seekers at Our Borders: Gathering and Sharing Their Stories.”
At 4 p.m., Janet McFetridge, founder of Plattsburgh Cares, and Emily Martz will show a short PBS video on asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the Plattsburgh area followed by discussion.
The My Lai Memorial Exhibit is free, though donations will be gratefully accepted to help continue the exhibit tour. Full details on the schedule and the exhibit are available at www.essexonlakechamplain.com/my-lai-memorial-exhibit and www.mylaimemorial.org.