AUBURN, Ala. – Marking 50 years since the Vietnam War and 200 years of statehood, Auburn High School students invite veterans of the Vietnam War from across Alabama to join them as they seek to document the history of Alabama’s Vietnam War service.
On Friday, April 26, Auburn High School will host Vietnam veterans for oral history interviews in an effort to honor their service and preserve their story. Those wishing to share stories of their service can reserve an interview for the time best for them with interviews offered throughout the day at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m.
Participation in oral history interviews offers an opportunity for reflection and remembrance for those sharing, in addition to providing a chance for the interviewing students to gain a greater understanding of the Vietnam War through the veteran’s eyes, Auburn High School history teacher Dr. Blake Busbin explained.
“These interviews allow veterans and students to come together in an intimate conversation passing on the history of our nation from one generation to another,” Busbin said. “The Vietnam War was one of the most consequential events of the 20th century for America, yet it remains a period of time that is highly misunderstood, with the stories of those who served often going unnoted.”
Interviews are audio-recorded and normally last between an hour to 90 minutes. Two or three students lead the interview process, allowing them to become the historians for that day. Having concluded a month-long study of Vietnam, students work with professional historians to build their interview skills before leading the oral history session. Questions are carefully crafted to allow veterans to respond with the memories they wish to share. In addition to participating veterans receiving a copy of their interview, a copy will be archived with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Auburn High is an official partner of the Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration program and participating veterans who have not already been so recognized will be presented with the 50th anniversary commemoration lapel pin. Interviews have also been officially endorsed by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
For more information or to sign up for an interview, please email Busbin at [email protected] or call Auburn High School at (334) 887-2120. Auburn High School is located at 1701 E. Samford Ave.
Beginning in 2014, more than 500 students at Auburn High School have participated in the AHS Veterans Project, an effort to honor veterans through preserving their stories for the Library of Congress. Since then, hundreds of oral histories, primarily those of Vietnam veterans, have been recorded. These efforts been recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies, Alabama Public Television (APTV), and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund as a model program for conducting veteran oral histories.