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Bong center opens door to Vietnam vets

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is extending a special invitation to Vietnam Veterans to visit the traveling 'Back in the World' portrait exhibit on Saturday for a special Photo Day event to help grow the Center's Vietnam War colle...

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is extending a special invitation to Vietnam Veterans to visit the traveling 'Back in the World' portrait exhibit on Saturday for a special Photo Day event to help grow the Center's Vietnam War collection.

"Our volunteer photographer Dan Schlies will be on hand to take photos of visiting Vietnam veterans who will each get a free 4x6 print," said Executive Director Bob Fuhrman. "We are hoping the vets will bring along mementos of their service to include in their photos, as the veterans in the traveling exhibit did for Wisconsin Public Television."

The portraits in the traveling exhibit include vets wearing parts of their old uniforms and medals or holding important reminders of their time in service such as a chaplain holding a crucifix he used in Vietnam.

"We also hope that veterans might bring along images of their time in service that they will share with the Center," Fuhrman said. "We would be honored if the veterans would allow us to scan these images so that we can continue to grow our Vietnam collection. At the same time, we would like to offer the chance for them to participate in our oral history project. Like Wisconsin Public Television we believe that saving our veterans stories are crucial for following generations to understand their service and sacrifice."

'Back in the World' is featured at the Bong Center through May 8. Featuring the faces and stories of Wisconsin Vietnam War Veterans that participated in the forthcoming Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories documentary and book project, the exhibit includes nearly 30 large-scale portraits by James Gill.

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In addition to the portraits, the Bong Center is also displaying Vietnam-era materials from its own collection and artifacts from private collections.

During the run of the exhibit the center staff and volunteers invite Vietnam Veterans to our the museum free of charge.

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