Viet Nam Generation, Inc.
2921 Terrace Dr.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA
v: (301) 608-0622
f: (301) 608-0761 (call first)
Other (Interactive education between college students and adults)
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; Volunteer contributions of time and energy
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Other (We maintain a full text archive of all VWAR-L discussion.)
Story Site (if other than location listed above):
Buffalo, New York
The VWAR-L bitnet list was created by Dr. Lydia Fish (firstname.lastname@example.org) to provide a forum for discussion of issues relating to the Viet Nam war and its effect on U.S. culture. The list currently has over 300 members, including over 100 students whose professors are using the list as a teaching tool. On the list, Viet Nam veterans interact with students and with each other, share information, insights and ideas. The educational environment created on the list is interactive and includes both the education of college students taking college courses focused on the Viet Nam war, and a simultaneous “adult education” process in which Viet Nam veterans can discuss the war with university professors who teach the subject. Participating members also include a substantial number of reference librarians and archivists who specialize in the Viet Nam war. I have used the list as a teaching tool for my students, in a course I taught last year at George Mason University, called “Race and Recent American Wars.” My students gained a great deal from the opportunity to explore the question of war with veterans of Viet Nam, Grenada and Panama. They were able to ask the opinions of Black veterans, White veterans, Native American veterans and Latino veterans, as well as women veterans. Such a resource could only be provided through the Internet. Subjects such as the Viet Nam war, which have entered into popular culture mythology are often difficult to teach since layers of television and film images obscure “the facts.” The opportunity to grasp the diversity and complexity of the war by interacting with the large veterans’ community on VWAR-L is unparalleled.
Furthermore, the opportunity to bring Viet Nam veterans together with professional historians, psychotherapists, librarians, researchers and legal specialists provides an environment which is highly educational and useful to the veteran. The amount of information on V.A. benefits, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, return trips to Viet Nam, etc., which is passed back and forth on the list is truly amazing. Viet Nam veterans are often an isolated and hard- to-reach population and the VWAR-L has had striking success in creating a viable and supportive educational community.