Truth of War Project Reflection
In this project we learned about the Vietnam War. I have rarely heard it talked about or never really knew what the war was about. What I learned in this project was, well, a lot. I had learned about the hardships of the Vietnam soldiers through the book, ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien. We also had interviews with veterans who came to speak to us about their experience. I learned about the Gulf of Tonkin through the examination of articles and finding my own opinion on whom I had thought started the Vietnam War. An example of this is, we were given a lot of articles, analyzing these articles we developed our own opinions of who we thought had started the war. I thought it was the Americans because we were already planning and discussing on attacking Vietnam so that Communism would not spread to other countries. We were so afraid of Communism spreading because we could lose our resources from other countries. I have never heard of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident before and it gave me new insight on what we, as Americans wanted in our history. Seeing as the Vietnam War is not commonly talked about, I was immediately engaged in this topic. It was new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
How we showed our learning was we designed an exhibition. In this exhibition we showed the; American Homefront, Soldiers’ On the Battlefield, Soldiers’ Emotional Perspective, Vietnamese Perspectives, America Divided, and Retrospective. We were first separated into groups depending on what room we wanted to design. My group was Retrospective, which was the room where we showed what happened after the war with emotional and physical perspectives. Our room consisted of a mural that showed what the reaction was when soldiers came home. There was also the Ken Burns Documentary that was playing. We had audio recordings of two veterans we had interviewed. To also interact with our audience, we had a reaction board. This board had asked the question, ‘What is the Truth of War?’ Audience members would write what they had thought the truth of war was. Each room was a representation of what it was like in that time with whatever perspective they were assigned. It was not only interactive, but educational on a subject that is generally not talked about. It was good to see both sides of the story which was our goal to show through this project. We respected each perspective as well as respected the different types of audience members we had. I think this exhibition turned out really well, I enjoyed preparing this exhibition to show what we had learned in this project.
How I think I might have grown from this project was I have always been a good listener, and doing well at following directions. When working on this project, I was able to help with whatever needed to be done. I think I contributed to this project with just being able to help with all the work we had been doing. I think that I helped a lot and did whatever I thought would need to be worked on more. Though I had offered a lot of my help and listened a lot, I could have done better with sharing my ideas in this project. For example, most of the beginning of this project, we were discussing norms and ideas. I had only shared a few of my ideas, most of the time I was nodding and agreeing with what other people said in my group. Most of my ideas were similar to the ideas that the people in my group had so I did not want to share. I also did not talk much because I just wanted to go along with whatever needed to be done instead of talking, to just do the work and get things done. Although I think I contributed a lot to this project and the aspects that we had to create, I did not share my ideas, which I know is something I need to work on in the future.
In this project our main driving question was, what is the truth of war? Wondering about this question, this had changed my way of thinking because I never have really dug deep into war. Sure, I have learned about other wars in the past, but the way we learned about this topic was more emotional. We had learned about this topic by talking about what the soldiers had felt and why. We had discovered more about this by reading the book ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien. Looking at these stories, whether they were fiction or nonfiction, it had showed us the hardships that they had gone through as well as what it was like for them to come back. Watching the Ken Burns Documentary was also a big part of learning about different perspectives, and what it was like for the veterans to come back home. I think that this all showed me that there are different perspectives and different stories from all different people, whether they be veterans or people at home. War is Hell and you can’t change that. War doesn’t have to be necessary, we just give excuses so that it can be necessary. We as Americans, as people, were so afraid of Communism that we needed to control it and eradicate it. That was fear that we did not need to face. That was just another thing that we needed to control. War can be necessary, it’s just a matter of are we being threatened? And is this really our problem? Is this necessary?