Antioch University Professor Emeritus Jim Malarkey, says, "The Vietnam War was a defining time in the lives of several generations of Americans and South East Asians. Three million perished and countless were wounded and displaced. The consequences were incalculable. Active resistance to the war eventually led to U.S. withdrawal. But attitudes to the Vietnam war had divided families, towns, campuses and congregations; and the war still sits heavily and unresolved in the minds of many."
Malarkey says with the new Ken Burns, 10-part series currently airing on PBS, it's a good time to "take on what actually happened during that fateful period, what we can learn from it, and how we can reconcile hard feelings that remain."
Toward this end, Malarkey has set up a two-part series of discussions on Vietnam to be held at the Coretta Scott King Center on the Antioch College campus.
In this interview for WYSO Weekend, Malarkey tells us what he hopes to accomplish with the talks.
The first discussion was held on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Malarkey says "12 people, some with military background and some not, commented on what they learned from the [Burns] films and how they felt and thought given what they saw and heard both in life and on film."
He says a lots of questions were generated during the discussions, "Why did the US get involved the manner it did? How powerful was the President in decision-making? How did citizens learn about the war during those years – and how accurately? How were thee Southeast Asian countries affected? Why wasn’t the war stopped earlier even though it seemed questionable from so many angles?"
A follow-up conversation, focusing on the last five episodes of the Burns documentary, will be held at Antioch College's Coretta Scott King Center, Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:00-11:30am.