Occasionally, I have given y’all a heads-up about programs happening at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum — an ADCO client.
Well, the museum has something very special coming up on Friday, Veterans Day. It’s been in the works for years, enduring many setbacks, from COVID to the flooding of the space where it is located.
My own father, like many South Carolina veterans, played a small role, being interviewed for hours back in 2017 by Fritz Hamer, then the curator of history at the museum. We lent a few of his artifacts and souvenirs from those days.
It’s called “A War With No Front Lines: South Carolina and the Vietnam War, 1965-1973.” The exhibit fills the 2,500-square-foot brick-lined, vaulted part of the museum that was once the water cistern for the Columbia Mills building when it opened in 1894 as the world’s first electric textile mill.
You can read more about it here, on the special website for this exhibit. Also, here’s a press release I wrote about the opening. On the “news” page of the site, you can read previous releases about recent events that have been building up to this opening, such as lectures by Vietnam veterans, and the huge, impressive diorama of Firebase Ripcord that’s stationed at the museum’s entrance. A lecture will be featured at noon Friday comparing the experiences of Vietnam veterans to those of servicemen who fought in previous wars.
And it’s all free on Friday and Saturday this week. It’s a good opportunity to check out the whole Relic Room, if you never have, but especially this new exhibit.
My father is gone now, but so many of these veterans are still with us, and it’s long past time for their service and sacrifices to be honored, and their stories told. I’m very glad the museum is doing this. It’s still coming together as I write this, but what I’ve seen looks good. I hope you check it out…
A few more pictures I’ve taken as the exhibit has taken shape…
Would like to mention that the History Department at Clemson has the Clemson Veterans Project whose purpose “is to preserve and honor the stories of American veterans from all conflicts throughout our country’s history and do so in a professional manner expected from a university with a rich military heritage. These interviews are then submitted to the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center within the Library of Congress.” It is one of the University’s Creative Inquiry Projects for students. Special Collections and Archives of the Libraries is working on preserving the originals.
I think it was the Willie Giest show this past Sunday…40th anniversary of the wall monument. If I ever get back to DC it’s on my list to visit.
I think I’ve posted this before. My Vietnam era draft lottery number was 274. If I had been born a day earlier my lottery number would have been 10. I think they drafted up to number 190.
Whenever I see a Vietnam story it always reminds me that I could have ended up face down in a rice field. Those guys have all of my respect.