SALINA – Salina Public Library, in partnership with the Kansas Humanities Council, is commemorating 50 years since the escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. To encourage education and reflection, the library will host a Community Conversation from 7–8:30 p.m. March 26 in the Prescott Room.
Three panelists will open up a conversation about the Vietnam War. Panelists include local Vietnam veterans Loren Houltberg and Jim Deister. The third panelist, Dr. Anita Specht, associate professor of history at Kansas Wesleyan University, will provide historical knowledge. The audience will be invited to ask questions.
Additionally, an exhibit of paintings by Jim D. Nelson is on display in Gallery 708 through April 13. A reception is scheduled for March 22 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Artistically, Nelson identifies as, “a defender of the American tradition of Realism in painting.” He is known for historical, portrait, religious and western paintings in addition to his military artwork. Works on exhibit will feature the Vietnam War in addition to other personal favorites.
Nelson was drafted into the United States Army and trained as an Infantryman during the Vietnam War. After three and a half months of combat in Vietnam spanning 1967-68, he was selected to be a Brigade Draftsman. Later he was transferred to the Division Headquarters where he worked as a combat artist with the 18th Military Historical Detachment during the Vietnam War.
Nelson’s art can be found in public, corporate and private collections including the Veterans Memorial Museum at Branson, Mo., and the New York Department of Veterans Affairs in Albany, N.Y.
The Kansas Humanities Council is partnering with 12 organizations, including the Salina Public Library, for a statewide oral history project entitled, “Kansas Stories of the Vietnam War.” Organizations will conduct oral history and memoir writing projects with Vietnam veterans in their community. At the end of the project, participating organizations will have the opportunity to submit collected stories to the Library of Congress’ Veteran History Project and the Veterans Voices Writing Project Magazine.