We Shot the War: Artistic Expression in Times of Conflict
July 3, 2018
For troops, families of troops and civilians, the Overseas Weekly took readers into the daily lives of those involved in the Vietnam War as well as the events of the war itself. Now, 43 years after the cessation of the publication, the new exhibition at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University serves the same purpose, giving viewers the opportunity to view the Vietnam War through the lens of military photographers.
The exhibit has a wide variety of features: pictures of victims, copies of the newspaper, and more.
My favorite part of the exhibit was a display of letters exchanged between James Bond Stockdale and his wife while he was being kept in Vietnam as a prisoner of war (POW), which was arranged through secretive messaging techniques between other prisons and the U.S. government, with the involvement of his wife Sybil. The display shows the fascinating letters, along with a three-paragraph description that says, “The documents of this remarkable story of high-stakes intrigue […] reveal the bravery and resilience of POWs and their families.”
The most important aspect of the exhibit is the diversity of content. It does not just use the pictures from the newspaper to tell the story of the victims, it also tells the stories of the journalists who brought and kept the Overseas Weekly to life. One example is Ann Bryan. The exhibit informs viewers of her many accomplishments and her immense contribution to the newspaper.as she single-handedly started the pacific edition of the Overseas Weekly and worked at the Washington Post for 20 years.
Overall, the exhibit serves to portray one thing that is commonly known for having the ability to bring Americans together: art.
In a day and age where journalism and politics seem to clash, it is important for people to see an example of what it looks like when those things work together to convey empowering messages. The exhibit is intriguing, and gives a voice to a newspaper that gave a voice to so many others during the Vietnam War.