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Lincoln High poets help tell the stories of Vietnam vets

Student poets from Lincoln High School were recently paired with Vietnam veterans and a Gold Star family member as part of a project that allowed veterans to share their stories of survival with a younger generation.

The Vietnam Poetry Project, made possible through a grant from the Lincoln Community Foundation, had a straightforward goal: to examine the impact of the Vietnam War on the men and women who lived through the fighting and, in the case of the Gold Star family member, on the relatives of those who died in combat. The project culminated at the end of the school year, when the students performed their finished pieces at Lincoln High’s Ted Sorensen Theatre in front of veterans, family and friends.

Lincoln High English teacher Chris Maly spearheaded the project, collaborating with NET and Red Rebel Media.

“Young people are losing a bit of human connection, but by sitting across from someone, you can see the pain of their memories,” Maly said. “It becomes very real.”

Maly selected students for the project based on their passion for writing, interest in the Vietnam War and willingness to interview a local veteran as a vehicle for writing a piece that could be shared with the community.

“The project was completed entirely outside of daily school activities and illustrates their pride and dedication to the project,” Maly said. “I hope this project encourages increased dialogue between generations, an appreciation for our elders and their services, and a lifelong interest in the experiences of men, women and families who sacrificed and served so that others could live free.”

The Lincoln High School seniors - now graduates - who participated were: Jack Buchanan, Joanna Calel, Bailey Havlat, Karina Hinkley, Cora Holt, Sam Hupp, Callie McCright, Che Rodriguez and Bailey You Rim Steinbach.

The Nebraska Vietnam veterans were: Jim Cada of Lincoln, Cheryl Feala of North Bend, Paul Freeman of Lincoln, Mike Kelley of Lincoln, James McGrath of Lincoln, Dau Nguyen of Lincoln, Vincent Orduna of Papillion, Marty Ramirez of Lincoln. The Gold Star son was Dave Bruck of Papillion.


Published: June 6, 2018, Updated: June 6, 2018

Photo courtesy of NET

"I hope this project encourages increased dialogue between generations, an appreciation for our elders and their services, and a lifelong interest in the experiences of men, women and families who sacrificed and served so that others could live free."

Chris Maly, Lincoln High English teacher