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History Comes to Life during Free Tours at the NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Museum

Vietnam veterans will lead free tours of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Museum in Holmdel in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the conflict.  

Memorial, photo by Robert Gangi

Sarah Hagarty, Curator of The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, said the tours are being held the first Saturday of every month, 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Everyone is being encouraged to remember the sacrifices of service men and women. “We work with a lot of school kids here and the younger that they get the less they seem to know about the 1960′s and the Vietnam War,” Hagarty said.

Class Tour at Memorial, photo by Robert Gangi

Young and old have an amazing opportunity to interact with the veteran tour guides who bring history to life. “They can tell their personal stories, share their photos, the news paper articles from the time, and it really kind of makes it real. It’s not just this thing you that you’d read in a history book. It’s something that these guys lived,” Hagarty said.

“You should never forget,” Hagarty said, pointing out it’s important to remember the Vietnam War, especially for younger people. She believes students walk away with a deeper appreciation and emotional connection to what they’ve read in history books. “They have this person that could be their grandfather sitting here saying, ‘when I was seventeen, 18, 19, 20, this was my life and this is what I was afraid of, this is what I was seeing, this is what I was going through, this is how my parents felt, can you imagine going through this?’, and it just really brings whatever they’ve learned in class to a very different place,” she said.

Even veterans who visit the Vietnam Memorial and Museum walk away with a different perspective or a stronger connection. Hagarty said it’s a very therapeutic experience and  can help them heal tremendously.

2 generations of veterans working on restoration

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Museum is located at 1 Memorial Lane in Holmdel, off Exit 116 of the Garden State Parkway. For more information, call 732-335-0033 or visit www.njvvmf.org.

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