Vietnam War exhibit in Calgary pays tribute to local veterans

Vietnam War exhibit pays tribute to local veterans
A new exhibit at Calgary’s Military Museums aims to educate the public about Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Michael King reports.

The latest exhibit at the Calgary Military Museums focuses on a conflict that some in the veteran community say is under-represented.

“Tour of Duty: Canadians and the Vietnam War” looks at Canada’s contributions to one of the most controversial wars in recent history.

Darley Frizzell fought alongside Canadians during the Vietnam War and said not enough people recognize the true number of troops that came from north of the border.

“Actually, most Canadians don’t know the figures that have been researched since 1977-78,” said Frizzell.

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Frizzell, along with other veterans and curators from the Military Museums, said that while 500 to 600 Canadians officially participated in peacekeeping missions, up to 40,000 Canadians crossed the border into the United States to fight with the Americans.

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Rory Cory, senior curator with the Military Museums, said time is running out to hear these stories first-hand.

“We did some important things there. We helped release a lot of the prisoners of war in the 1973 mission, including Sen. John McCain,” said Cory. “(McCain) was one of those prisoners who was released by one of the personalities seen in the exhibit.”

Veterans who lent their personal artifacts to the exhibit were on hand Friday, talking to visitors about their experiences serving overseas.

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For Cory, the chance to talk with veterans one-on-one is invaluable.

“I’m hoping Calgarians are able to appreciate the Vietnam veterans and learn more about Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam War,” he said.

The exhibit is on until Jan. 13, 2019. As part of the project, the Moving Wall — a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. — will be on display at the Military Museums from Oct. 6 to 14.

The Canadian Vietnam Memorial Wall, which honours all known Canadians killed in Vietnam, will also be on display at the Museum from Oct. 6 to 8.