By Cullen Smith
Holland Vietnam Veteran Stories: “1st Lieutenant David Fetters”
The Vietnam War stands as one of the most transformative conflicts in American history, yet one of the most under-researched. An initial search in Hope College’s Joint Archives revealed very little available archival materials on how the war impacted one of West Michigan’s most populous coastal cities. Furthermore, a collective silence surrounds many of Holland’s Vietnam veterans; their stories are largely unavailable to members of the Holland community. This project seeks to eliminate this silence through the production of three short audio-visual slideshows on YouTube. Although it is still in its initial stages, this project will be a stepping stone for future exploration into the stories of local Vietnam War veterans. Through future exploration, this project may be able to weave shared experiences between other veterans to present an accurate depiction of the collective experience of Holland’s Vietnam War veteran community. At its core, however, the project provides the Holland community with a digital platform to examine and discuss a story about one man, one small town, and its intersection with the Vietnam War. This project was funded by the Mellon Scholars Program and the History Department.