Two events this week will take place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater to honor Vietnam War veterans in recognition of National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29.
The first event is a 7 p.m. screening of the documentary “Just Like Me: Vietnam War Stories from All Sides,” on March 27. The second event is a dedication ceremony for a seat in the theater in honor of Vietnam veterans at 11:30 a.m. March 29.
The 2018 Emmy award-winning documentary “Just Like Me,” directed by IU professor emeritus and Vietnam veteran Ron Osgood, details the stories of veterans, civilians and artists who had a connection to the Vietnam War. The film focuses on the idea that those that fought on opposite sides actually have many things in common.
Osgood said showing his documentary is an opportunity to humanize the veterans and make them more approachable.
“What I hope at the end of the screening is that someone can walk out of the theater and they can see a Vietnamese or American veteran on the street and they can thank them for their service and ask them where they served,” Osgood said.
A Q&A session will follow the documentary screening. The panel will include John Summerlot, the director of veterans’ support services at IU, Mary Elftman, the Monroe County director of veterans’ affairs, and Phil Zook, a veteran featured in the documentary.
“The goal for the panel is just to let people in the audience know what sort of the veterans issues are and how, if they know a veteran, they can find resources to help them better,” Osgood said.
Two days after the screening, the Buskirk-Chumley will dedicate a front-row seat in the theater to Vietnam veterans.The armrest of the seat will have an engraved plate that reads, “VIETNAM VETERANS ‘The best America had.’”
The donation for the seat was made by an anonymous donor who is also a Vietnam veteran.
IU’s all-female a cappella group Ladies First will perform the national anthem during the dedication. A catered lunch will follow the program.
“I think that it is an important reminder of the sacrifice and service of all of the people who were part of the Vietnam war,” said Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Both events are free and unticketed.
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