Many of these veterans of the first unresolved war in the United States history are known to us as fathers, grandfathers and the merchant that we did business with for many years. The museum provides valuable insight for this and other subsequent conflicts but they must be seen to be appreciated.
Most wars can trace their beginning to one special event; but this is not the case with the Vietnam War. U.S. interest/help began under President Truman; under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon the conflict steadily grew. By 1969 a growing opposition to the war led to bitter divisions among Americans; the war ended under President Ford (1975). The men and women returning home from Vietnam were not met with parades or thanks but with anti-war demonstrations. The wounds were deep; eventually recognition and respect surfaced with the creation of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, also known as the “healing wall.”
Nineteen of Duplin County’s finest were killed in Vietnam. We have our “replica” of The Wall where sixteen of these men are remembered; three were listed as MIA but have now been changed to KIA and BNR: (E-6) Paul Edwin Gore, Machinist Mate 1st Class, U.S. Navy
(0-3) Lt. Litchfield Patterson Huie, Huey Pilot, U.S. Navy
Lance Corporal Joseph Hargrove, U.S. Marine Corps.
POW / MIA
Please note the picture of Lance Corporal Joseph Hargrove next to the MIA/POW display. He was listed as MIA for years and in 1979 the status was changed to KIA/BNR. His brother, Lane Hargrove, was also killed in service to his country during the Vietnam War. They help us to understand that war has a face to it and produces suffering, loss, and a tremendous amount of pain for the families that is often ongoing.
It is worth a trip to the museum to read what each element in the display represents.