Vietnam Vet Art Museum MAG

By Jennifer D., Park Ridge, IL

     I recently visited the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago - what a great experience! The museum’s mission is to “inspire greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam.” Among the 1,500 pieces of art by veterans were many that affected my thinking about the war, some you really should know about.

Entering the museum, I saw an exhibit hanging above my head of replicated dog tags of all the men and women who died in combat. On the second floor I saw a single black dog tag that represents the military personnel who died in the States from war injuries, suicide, and diseases contracted overseas. It really put into perspective how many people actually put their lives on the line for our country.

Another exhibit I found amazing showed all the items soldiers carried on a daily basis. Since I had a hard time trying to pick up everything, I can’t imagine carrying those on long marches as well as a weapon, ammunition and water. When I think about how much these soldiers went through, it amazes me.

The last exhibit I found interesting and sad wasn’t even about Vietnam. It was pictures of all those who have received the purple heart of courage while in Iraq. After seeing the wounds that soldiers have received during this conflict, I realize that this war is very real and that Americans are daily risking their lives and getting injured. It’s one thing to hear about it on the news but another to see how these people are injured and how much their lives are affected. It makes you believe that this is an enormous, significant conflict.

The Vietnam Veterans Art Museum made me realize how much people have actually given up for their country, and how blessed I am to live here.

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