Throughout our nation’s history, war and its vestiges have cast a long shadow over the proceedings. It can be argued that our country evolved from war, was forged by it, and was later defined by it. We have come to know the wars in our nation’s history by name and circumstance. Wars have littered our economic, political, and social landscape for better and for worse.
French and Indian War (1754-1763) Spanish-American War (1898) Vietnam War (1955-1975)
American Revolution (1775-1783) World War I (1917-1918) First Iraq War (1991)
War of 1812 (1812-1814) World War II (1941-1945) Second Iraq War (2003-2011)
Civil War (1861-1865) Cold War (1947-1991) Afghanistan War (2004 – present)
In the wake of these wars that helped shape and define the United States of America, historians and scholars are charged with helping students not only understand their origins, but also how each war relates to our nation’s past, to our present, as well as our future. All told, historians and scholars are also charged with creating a “motif” that provides lessons to be learned and mistakes to be avoided. Without exception, the Vietnam War and its vestiges is one of American history’s enduring lessons to be learned from and most certainly respected and honored for better or for worse.
The Vietnam War owned our hearts, minds, and souls for the latter part of the twentieth century. In many ways, it still lingers and muddles our collective memory of the 1960s. This war divided our country, disillusioned a generation of America’s brightest and best, and cast an enduring pall of mistrust over its political leaders and the political process. That mistrust became so deeply embedded in our conscientiousness that even now, four decades later, the fear of inciting “…another Vietnam” emerges each time the United States utilizes military forces to advance American foreign policy.
To fear “another Vietnam” is one thing, but to truly understand if such fear is warranted requires that the war itself be examined in its proper context. This daunting task is best done by examining the body of knowledge related to its study that knows no bounds. In many ways, it is an effort that requires turning back the clock in visual and auditory fashion using existing technology and historical/cultural artifacts in order to do so.
The genesis of THE “NAM” PROJECT is attributed to the intellectual curiosity and encouragement of my 1302 United States history students at Collin College and Brookhaven College. Their interest in the 1960s and the Vietnam War motivated me to begin compiling books, movies, and websites related to their study. As you can imagine, a single semester is not long enough to share all these materials. Hence, the idea of creating an academic depository of such materials was born. Now after intensive efforts by several astute and trusted students it has come to fruition. This website is a work in progress, and I encourage every visitor to use its contents and contact us with feedback for improvement. I hope you will find this resource useful both personally and professionally. Thank you.