Vietnam

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Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

There was no guarantee the late Austin artist Sam Coronado would make it out of Vietnam alive. But after he did, he spent the next few decades of his life dedicated to the arts. His last project is “Hard Fought: Sam Coronado’s WWII Series.”

The series features narrative prints depicting the stories of Latino-Americans during World War II. The exhibit draws inspiration from the “VOCES Oral History Project,” a collection of more than 650 interviews and ephemera that give voice to the American Latino experience in World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.

“Hard Fought” will be on exhibit at the Benson Latin American Collection through May 15.

“Sam Coronado brought his own eye to something we’ve been looking at for several years,” said Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, journalism associate professor and director of “VOCES.” “We would never have seen what he saw, what he selected, what color he used. He really lent it his vision, and we’ll always be very grateful for that.”

Exhibition curator Tatiana Reinoza said she believes that through this exhibit, Coronado, who died in 2013, conveys the pride he had for his people.

“A lot of Latinos are really proud that they served, but they haven’t really been given credit for that honorable work,” Reinoza said. “That’s why this show is called ‘Hard Fought’ because it’s a hard-fought battle to gain that recognition, to gain that validation and to know that their sacrifices are valued in the end.”

Reinoza said Coronado created the prints through the serigraphy process, also known as screen printing. Some prints in the collection are mixed media, which incorporates collage elements in the piece. The narrative prints are coupled with oral elements such as interview excerpts taken from the “VOCES Oral History Project.”

Reinoza said Coronado enjoyed serigraphy so much that he opened his own studio in Austin in 1991.

Coronado, a Vietnam veteran who identified as Chicano, knew firsthand the struggle to feel validated for his services to this country. This prompted him to collaborate with Rivas-Rodriguez in 2006.

Julianne Gilland, associate director of scholarly resources and special collections curator at the Benson Latin American Collection, said it has been interesting for viewers to relate to the exhibit.

“This is true whether as American families, who remember their service and sacrifice in wartime with pride, [or] as Latinos, who have had to reconcile those proud histories with some of the social justice and racism that their families have experienced,” Gilland said.

The exhibition resonated with Reinoza, who said she thinks it is vital for young Latinos to understand the importance of their historical presence in this country amid the current immigration debates and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“Young Latinos need to understand that we have a long history in this country, and we have been a part of that special fabric,” Reinoza said. “I think that’s really important for young Latinos to learn and acknowledge.”

Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Vietnam’s “queen of hip hop,” Suboi, released her second album RUN last September. Suboi, the 25-year-old, bilingual rapper will kick off her first U.S. tour this month. Her South by Southwest performance takes place Thursday at The Trophy Club. Suboi spoke with The Daily Texan for a Q&A.  

The Daily Texan: How did you first become interested in rap? 

Suboi: When I was 14. I listened to Linkin Park and Eminem, but I didn’t think about rapping until I saw Will Smith on TV one day. After that, I started writing my first song. There wasn’t any rap in Vietnam though, so I had to find inspiration in other places. I listened to Eminem to teach myself English. He always uses so many bad words and slang, so back then, my English was really rude. 

DT: Without much rap in Vietnam, how did your career get started?

Suboi: It was hard when I first started out. There wasn’t much stuff on the Internet for me to watch, so it was hard to find inspiration or even an album I liked back then. Vietnam was just about pop music, so when my friends asked me to rap in their metal band, I jumped right in. 

DT: How do you feel about performing in the U.S.?

Suboi: I am very, very excited. I never thought I’d be performing at such a big festival. I’m looking forward to seeing the other artists. In Vietnam, there’s not a lot of diversity. I’m also excited to see the audiences. I’ve seen the crowds on music videos and TV, and I hope they’re the same. I just want them to be excited and hear my music.

DT: What do you think you bring to rap? 

Suboi: I started rapping because I couldn’t express myself in school. In my music, I would say half of it is for me, and half of it is about the message. At SXSW, I really want the audience to see that I have something to say, too. I want them to know that somebody from Vietnam has something to bring to the table. 

DT: Do you ever have to worry about censorship in Vietnam?

Suboi: Well, I have to use a lot of metaphors and wordplay as an artist in Vietnam. You have to balance what you want to say, but you also have to worry about staying out of trouble. I like the challenge of trying to get around those barriers, though. 

DT: What artists have inspired you?

Suboi: First of all, definitely Eminem. He has so much rage, and that really resonated with me. Lauryn Hill is definitely my biggest female inspiration. I get different vibes from different rappers, but I like the way they express themselves in their own crazy ways. I was a shy kid growing up, so I liked how American artists had their own opinions and styles. 

DT: Where do you want to see yourself in ten years?

Suboi: When you look at Lauryn Hill, she has a family, and she still has her career. I want to be doing that. I want to travel the world and have people know my music and take it seriously. I want people to see that I’m just like everybody else. I just want to rap. I don’t want to be just mainstream or just underground. I want people to know what I can do. It’ll be different for them and for me — just to see what I can bring to them. 

Imagine this: You receive a notification that you must report to basic military training as soon as possible — but this modern-day draft isn’t for a war with Vietnam. Instead, the country needs young people to combat extremists overseas. Suddenly, you have to put future plans on hold and risk your life while working towards a greater good. 

While this situation isn’t likely to occur, talks of reinstating the military draft for those 18 and older have been suggested with the rising power of ISIS. Unfortunately, the 45 percent of young adults who don’t read the news would be taken completely by surprise, not only by forced military entry, but by the array of current events plastered on all forms of media they miss daily. While it may be a big adjustment, keeping up with local and nationwide current events could be the difference between continued ignorance and massive change. 

Being aware forces you to question things, especially wrongdoing that is seen as the norm. Critical thinking helps people formulate their own opinions and stances, which is key with elections coming up. It is the responsibility of a citizen to be informed about issues and candidates, rather than simply vote along party lines. Even in the workforce, young professionals who know more than their social networking feed categorically impress employers. 

Most of all, students should keep up with news because, as cheesy as it sounds, we control the future. The wrongs discovered and reported today don’t have to exist — the entire purpose of informing the public is to stop them. If we can’t recognize offenses, how are we supposed to keep them from happening again? Police brutality could be at an all-time low. Snapchat users could know the app’s vulnerability to hackers. Who knows, maybe we could shake things up enough to help fellow Hong Kong students in their attempts to hold free elections. 

College students are overwhelmed with studying, work and the harsh realities of adulthood already, but taking action to better society can only happen when you recognize the issues at hand. Take a few minutes each day to read stories from multiple sources, or at least the headlines if time is scarce. Use resources and organizations on campus to find the issues you’re passionate about and make an impact. After all, the actions of an informed few have the potential to help the lives of many. 

Griffin is a journalism freshman from Houston. Follow her on Twitter @JazmynAlynn. 

 

Here in Austin, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson is considered a tragic figure whose many social programs (Medicare among many others) were marred by the war in Vietnam. Former President Richard Nixon, meanwhile, is viewed as Machiavellian, almost evil. Nixon is often most remembered for the Watergate scandal, in which his staff broke into the 1972 Democratic headquarters and tapped the phones of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Nixon, despite his push for universal health care, his launching of the Environmental Protection Agency and his extension of Johnson’s programs, is remembered more for his “silent majority,” “southern strategy” tactics and crass interventions in Latin America. It’s time rethink this narrative, and the resources at the LBJ Presidential Library can help us do so.

Recently, allegations about Nixon staffers’ alleged meddling in the Vietnam peace talks have come back into the news, with an article by the BBC’s David Taylor citing Johnson administration officials saying that in October 1968, Johnson had knowledge of the parallel dialogue regarding his efforts to stop bombing in Vietnam but did nothing, fearing a political backlash should his surveillance of Nixon’s aides come to light. Taylor cites recorded telephone conversations between Johnson and then-U.S. Senator from Georgia Richard Russell to back his claims. This would seem to confirm the running narrative of a fiery Johnson pitted against a cold and calculating Nixon. However, other phone calls during that time period paint a more complicated picture. 

The tapes with the phone calls reveal that Johnson was conflicted over Nixon’s intervention, but also over his protege Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s handling of the war issue. Commenting on Nixon’s intervention he says, “It’s not very easy for me to work under those conditions, anymore than when Hubert [Humphrey] says he would stop the bombing ‘without a comma, semicolon, but period.’” At one point in the tapes, Johnson says that Nixon “has the right [electoral] formula” and predicts that Humphrey could hurt himself by positioning himself as a dove. All in all, the conversation reveals subterfuge, but also striking continuities. Johnson clearly favored Nixon’s position over former presidential contender and Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who had defeated LBJ in New Hampshire’s primary. “Up till now Nixon and the Republicans have supported me ... better than Eugene McCarthy, [Arkansas Sen. J. William] Fulbright and the rest of them,” Johnson says in the tapes. Johnson also makes the case that he sacrificed his political career to exit gracefully from the war, saying that “if [he] had wanted to sell the country out,” he would have left Vietnam “five months ago” and gotten “overwhelmingly reelected.” Johnson longs for continuity as he recalls his support for Eisenhower and a tradition of not undermining the commander in chief in the area of foreign affairs. Johnson emphasizes in his call to Humphrey the day before the proposed cessation that he is not announcing a peace, but a “discussion.” He fears that the North Vietnamese will “take advantage” of the temporary halt to the bombing.

The tapes reveal broad bipartisan suspicion of communist regimes and expose the healthy egos that prevented peace from then going forward, evidenced by the Nixon campaign’s maneuvering and Johnson’s demand that the bombing cessation be conditional. The LBJ Presidential Library’s exhibits generally and erroneously portray Johnson as tragically noble; they fail to question his dubious claims with respect to the Gulf of Tonkin attacks that triggered the escalation and fail to grapple with Johnson’s own conflicts with his predecessor John F. Kennedy and, before his death in 1968, Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

More generally, the tapes are one more example of how political interests and rhetoric mask a bipartisan consensus. Former President Ronald Reagan is remembered for his announcement heralding the end to the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, although Reagan’s election opponent that year, former President Jimmy Carter, negotiated the release. Former President George W. Bush successfully negotiated the status of forces agreement that withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011.

Next time UT students visit the LBJ Presidential Library, they should reconsider the standard assessments of our former presidents and look not at each individual color but at the tapestry that weaves together U.S. foreign policy.

Knoll is a Latin American Studies senior from Dallas. 

Carl Colby grew up as the son of a spy, not necessarily a father. Shrouded in mystery, William Colby spent nearly 30 years serving the United States as both CIA director and Spymaster. In Colby’s self-directed film, “The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby,” he attempts to delve into the complex life his father led all the while exploring the turbulent political scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The film was screened Tuesday during election night at the A.C.E.S. building.

“This occurred when the executive branch under [Richard] Nixon was under fire. There was a lot of hostility between the Democratic Congress and the Republican administration, Watergate and Vietnam,” Bartholomew Sparrow, a government professor acquainted with Carl Colby who coordinated the event, said. “So because of this it doesn’t give [William] Colby much room to be an innovator or an entrepreneur or a big leader.”

The movie serves as a combination of history and Carl Colby’s personal experiences. Infusing the historical events of the ‘60s and ‘70s with his own father’s struggles and ambitions, Carl Colby finds a balance between informational and personal.

Colby’s mother gave the most insightful interviews. Married to William Colby for nearly 30 years, she lived a life that at times she did not even understand. Changing identities daily, she lived life undercover and on a need-to-know basis.

“This is not my story. It’s my father’s story. I was trying to make you be me,” Carl Colby said. “My mother is charming and very articulate, but the privilege that you get is that she’s talking to me. She isn’t talking for the ages as much, so you get this intimacy in her interviews.”

Carl Colby’s personal commentary evolves as the story of his father progresses. The beginning of the film shows a naive Carl Colby childishly admiring his father, the spy. But as he comes of age in the late Vietnam era, Carl Colby begins to question the morality and motives of his father.

“I always adored him. He was a god figure. He was the boss. He ran the house. What he said goes. He picks everything, and my mother went along with it,” Colby said. “But I had always respected him, and then I started to question what he was doing. And as I became a teenager and the Vietnam era came around, I started to question these things. ‘Well, who was he, and is he really guilty of these things?’ It makes you wonder.”

William Colby was appointed director of the CIA under Nixon and later served under Gerald Ford. In the mid-seventies, William Colby was brought before Congress first to testify on the Phoenix Program, a controversial village-based approach to combat in Vietnam, and then to justify the existence of the CIA. Revealing too much information, William Colby was promptly removed as head of the CIA in late 1975.

“I think he was a dedicated soldier who took on every tough assignment until he was asked to lie to Congress. I think he was unsettled by being thrown out of the CIA, by the whole experience of having to go before Congress, and then being cast off like a sacrificial lamb by the administration,” Colby said. “He had very little respect for Ford, [Donald] Rumsfeld, [Henry] Kissinger and {Dick] Cheney, the whole crowd. He felt like they were politically expedient.”

After he left the CIA, William Colby became a shadow of his former self or as his son describes him, a ghost.

“There are lots of successes: people who had hoped for the best, promoted to this, promoted to that. It’s the ambition, its palpable. You can feel it,” Colby said. “Washington is full of ghosts, men walking around who were somebody.”

This Nov. 20, 1963 photo released by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, shows President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Mrs. Warren, and others descending the Grand Staircase during the Judicial Reception at the White House, in Washington. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, the Kennedy Llibrary will release the final 45 hours of White House recordings secretly taped during President Kennedy’s time in office.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

BOSTON — Final recordings President John F. Kennedy secretly made in the Oval Office include an eerie conversation about what would become the day of his funeral.

In talking to staffers while trying to arrange his schedule, Kennedy remarked that Nov. 25 was shaping up to be a “tough day” after his return from Texas and time at Cape Cod.

“It’s a hell of a day, Mr. President,” a staffer agreed.

The exchange was among the last 45 hours of private recordings Kennedy made, tapes The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum released Tuesday. They provide a window into the final months of the 35th president’s life.

They include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention, and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.

The tapes are the last of more than 260 hours of recordings of meetings and conversations Kennedy privately made before his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

David Coleman, the professor who leads the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia, on Tuesday called the final recordings significant because while JFK didn’t tape himself regularly, he chose to preserve important moments.

The university’s Miller Center of Public Affairs already has published three volumes of Kennedy transcripts and is working on another two volumes from recordings that previously went public, Coleman said.

“Kennedy did not tape as systematically as Johnson or Nixon. But what he did tape was often very important discussions,” he said.

“What you have is an unusually rich collection of decisions being made in real time.”

The recordings also are valuable because they’re a raw look inside the Kennedy White House, Coleman said.

“It’s all unfiltered,” he said. “It hasn’t been massaged by committees or by the White House press machine.”

Historians may gravitate most to Kennedy’s recordings about Vietnam to see where his policy was heading when his presidency ended, Coleman said.

Kennedy kept the recordings a secret from his top aides. He made the last one two days before his death.

Kennedy library archivist Maura Porter said Monday that JFK may have been saving them for a memoir or possibly started them because he was bothered when the military later gave a different overview of a discussion with him about the Bay of Pigs.

The latest batch of recordings captured meetings from the last three months of Kennedy’s administration.

In a conversation with political advisers about young voters, Kennedy asks, “What is it we have to sell them?”

“We hope we have to sell them prosperity, but for the average guy the prosperity is nil,” he says. “He’s not unprosperous, but he’s not very prosperous. ... And the people who really are well off hate our guts.”

Kennedy talks about a disconnect between the political machine and voters.

“We’ve got so mechanical an operation here in Washington that it doesn’t have much identity where these people are concerned,” he says.

On another recording, Kennedy questions conflicting reports military and diplomatic advisers bring back from Vietnam, asking the two men: “You both went to the same country?”

He also talks about trying to create films for the 1964 Democratic Convention in color instead of black and white.

“The color is so damn good,” he says. “If you do it right.”

Porter said the public first heard about the existence of the Kennedy recordings during the Watergate hearings.

In 1983, JFK Library and Museum officials started reviewing tapes without classified materials and releasing recordings to the public. Porter said officials were able to go through all the recordings by 1993, working with government agencies when it came to national security issues and what they could make public.

In all, she said, the JFK Library and Museum has put out about 40 recordings. She said officials excised about 5 to 10 minutes of this last group of recordings due to family discussions and about 30 minutes because of national security concerns.

Porter has supervised the declassification of these White House tapes since 2001, and she said people will have a much better sense of the kind of leader JFK was after hearing them. While some go along with meeting minutes that also are public, she said, listening to JFK’s voice makes his personality come alive.

She said he comes across as an intelligent man who had a knack for public relations and was very interested in his public image. But she said the tapes also reveal times when the president became bored or annoyed and moments when he used swear words.

The sound of the president’s children, Caroline and John Jr., playing outside the Oval Office is part of a recording on which he introduces them to Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

“Hello, hello,” Gromyko says as the children come in, telling their father, “They are very popular in our country.”

JFK tells the children, mentioning a dog Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gifted the family: “His chief is the one who sent you Pushinka. You know that? You have the puppies.”

JFK Library spokeswoman Rachel Flor said the daughter of the late president has heard many of the recordings, but she wasn’t sure if she had heard this batch.

“He’d go from being a president to being a father,” Porter said of the recordings. “And that was really cute.”

When an incoming rocket round hit Sgt. Johnny Alexander during his service in Vietnam, he lost both of his legs, his back was crushed and he was paralyzed from the neck down.

Now, decades later, he is participating in the Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge, and plans to participate in all of the other challenges across the country, as well as the ride that will take place in France in June.

John Wordin, a professional bicyclist, founded Ride 2 Recovery in 2008, as a way to help rehabilitate wounded veterans suffering from physical or post-traumatic stress-related injuries.

“It’s made it a lot better just by being able to be around other people with the same disabilities that I have and being able to do things that I didn’t think I would be able to do,” he said.

Wordin works with each veteran to provide them with a bicycle that will accommodate their injuries, and they get to keep their bikes when they finish the ride, said Ride 2 Recovery spokeswoman Debora Spano.

The Texas Challenge began in San Antonio on March 28 and will finish in the Dallas area on April 2. Other challenges take place in Virginia, Minnesota, New York, California, Florida and France.

The organization works with the military and Veterans Affairs Volunteers Services Offices, with UnitedHealthcare as their presenting sponsor. Through a series of fundraisers, UnitedHealthcare helped to raise money to pay for the veterans’ bikes.

“We’re a company that prides itself on helping people live healthier lives,” said Mark Robinson, UnitedHealthcare’s vice president of marketing. “Our mission really comes to life on something like this.”

Those who participate also build a strong sense of camaraderie that most of them no longer experience when they return from their tours of duty, veterans said. The ride also serves as motivation for the participants to continue working through and around their injuries.

“I think it’s a good avenue to get away, to motivate yourself to get away from focusing on the negatives and focusing on a sport so you can make yourself better by doing it,” said Staff Sgt. Jerry Magallanes, who served in Iraq and suffered from a traumatic brain injury.


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Video Game Reviews - Call of duty: Black Ops, Medal Of Honor

The latest annual update to America’s favorite murder simulator presents many enemies to the player: Tropas in Cuba, Vietcongs in Vietnam and Russians in the Arctic. But Treyarch, which previously developed “Call of Duty: World at War,” remain the greatest enemy of all. After playing through a campaign filled with unreliable team AI, getting stuck because of misdirection and facing endless swarms of Vietnamese troops that don’t stop until you perform a non-indicated action, it will be Treyarch’s name that you curse above all others.

Most of the 5.6 million copies sold on the game’s release date were likely purchased for multiplayer: Treyach’s strength. This year’s new features and maps are welcome additions to one of the best online shooters available. The perks and personalization of “Modern Warfare 2” are faithfully implemented along with a new leveling system that lets players earn points from matches that can be spent on new gear and perks. These points can also be gambled in new game types, including one where players start with only a knife and a pistol with one bullet. Zombie mode from “World at War” also returns with minor improvements.

The single-player mode is where the game falls short. It’s the most ambitious campaign yet, packed full of set piece moments every five minutes. Some players will get a thrill out of the rollercoaster pacing and constant interruptions, but I personally found these scenarios — along with sawing through the necks of unaware Vietnamese soldiers while a squad mate cheers, “Never gets old” — to be a trying attempt at creating shock value where a better designed series once stood. The good news is that most of what you like about the series remains. The bad news is that you probably own those parts already.

Grade: B
For fans of: “Apocalypse Now,” Alex Jones and presidents killing zombies.

Medal of Honor (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

There’s an irony that comes with the release of “Medal of Honor’s” 2010 reboot. The franchise responsible for creating the World War II console shooter that led to genre fatigue has now returned in the form of a modern military shooter in a year that is full of them. Thankfully, there are novel ideas, gorgeous visuals and a unique aesthetic to set it apart from
the competition.

In what was a terrible decision from the start, the game’s two components are developed by separate teams. DICE handled the multiplayer, essentially stripping away the best features of their “Battlefield: Bad Company 2” without adding the ideas that stand out from the single-player campaign, developed by Danger Close.

There is a grounded realism to “Medal of Honor” that is at times fascinating in concept but too often boring in execution. Being able to slide to cover, peek around corners and pull out a pistol with the double tap of a button are all great additions (none of which appear in multiplayer), but they can’t prevent the game from feeling like an endless shooting gallery from an earlier age.

Grade: C

For fans of: “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” ATVs and gnarly beards.

Latin American studies senior Asiago Ogaisa is a big believer in karma, and rightfully so. While in Vietnam, Ogaisa ate dog, a traditional staple of the country’s diet, but just a week later, a dog bit him in Thailand.

“It tastes like beef stew, but really, food tastes so different around the world,” Ogaisa said. “Why don’t we eat bugs? I’ve eaten bugs in other countries.”

This is just one of memorable experiences that Ogaisa, president of Students for Study Abroad, had overseas. He wishes to share his experiences with students attending International Education Week, which celebrates cultural diversity on campus.

“Going abroad is how I found myself,” Ogaisa said. “It taught me about my own culture.”
This is one of the goals that International Education Week has for those that come to its 55 events. An overall promotion of going global and having cultural interactions will be stressed. The week is also meant to showcase how diverse a student body UT has.

“Everyday you can see how global we are, but by giving it a week, it draws attention to it,” said International Office spokesman Christian Casarez. “It pulls different cultures together.”
In addition, the week aims to give students knowledge of the global economy.

“Nowadays, everything is global,” said Claudia Prieto, international programs coordinator and International Education Week committee chair. “Products are manufactured all over the world. All of this starts at home by gaining perspective and exposure to new ideas.”

This year’s events will range from foreign films to language sessions and even wedding traditions to appeal to the widest variety of tastes on campus.

“The events are meant to help students create their own road maps to fit in their college degree plans,” Casarez said. “They can learn how to fund [their own programs], which is
really empowering.”

Coordinators think students provide the relatable perspective of a young adult who has traveled abroad and seen the differences between the U.S. and other countries.

“I never realized how much influence the U.S. has on the world,” Ogaisa said.

Ogaisa hopes that his study abroad experiences will inspire others to do the same.

“[Traveling abroad] makes you realize all the resources you have at UT,” Ogaisa said. “I never realized the accessibility of gyms [or] the PCL. You can really get anything for free if you go looking for it. Other countries aren’t like that.”

Ogaisa and students involved in International Education Week will attempt to open doors for students to the possibility of traveling overseas, but they’ll also show them it’s worth the risk to travel.

“Fight your own fears,” Ogaisa said. “Every time I go, it’s still a challenge. The fear of the unknown kills us, but you have to get out of your bubble.”

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WHAT: International Education Week
WHERE: Various locations around UT
WHEN: Nov. 15 - 19, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
WEB: utiew.wordpress.com

Since the beginning of the broadcast news era, generations of Americans have gathered in front of their television sets, their ears and eyes tuned in to the distinctive voice and screen presence of Walter Cronkite as he presented them with nearly every major news story from the last half of the 20th century. From his emotional delivery of the news of former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination to his live, on-screen astonishment when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Cronkite bore witness to pivotal historical events, sharing these experiences with Americans everywhere. It is safe to say that most citizens are at least familiar with “the most trusted man in America” — they’ve invited him into their living rooms for decades.

But now, nearly a year after Cronkite’s death, the series of photos, reels and artifacts shown at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library exhibit, “Cronkite: Eyewitness to a Century,” not only illustrate a descriptive biography on Cronkite, but also shed a humanistic light on him, reminding viewers that while Cronkite’s list of achievements runs miles long, he was also a family man with ambitious dreams and a proud American who believed in democracy through journalism.

At the start of the exhibit, viewers are greeted with the most familiar image of the journalist — one on the television screen. With his unmistakable baritone voice booming, his grandfatherly figure gracing the life-size burnt orange television and a sense of nostalgia in the air, one could not help but feel at ease.

From a yellowed copy of The Daily Texan to the worn-in captain’s hat Walter Cronkite favored wearing while at the wheel of the America’s Cup defender, a 12-meter yacht named “Courageous,” viewers travel chronologically through his history.

Along the way, viewers discover that Cronkite was a meticulous man who had an eye for details. From a colorful drawing of a royal procession line, to a stopwatch Cronkite used to time his news story before going on air at CBS News, to an ink-filled notepad he used during his reporting in Vietnam, these personal artifacts reiterate the sense of seriousness and dedication Cronkite had for journalism.

The encased row of gleaming Emmy awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom that President Carter honored Cronkite with in 1981 only partially commemorate Cronkite’s remarkable contribution to journalism and American history. It is the series of ongoing news reels of Cronkite’s reporting that genuinely highlight how grand it was for Cronkite to be at the center of it all.

Erin Purdy, associate director for communications for the Center for American History, said the foundation of the collection is from Cronkite himself. Almost every paper, artifact and photo came from Cronkite’s own collection, which was donated to the University’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History before Cronkite passed away July 17, 2009.

Purdy said Cronkite was told about the exhibit a few months before his passing and that he was very pleased to hear the exhibit was happening.

Cronkite saved virtually everything from press badges to the typewriter he used while serving in the military, according to Prudy. The rest of the materials were donated by others, including correspondents, viewers, presidents and celebrities. Morley Safer, a close friend and colleague of Cronkite’s at CBS News, donated a good portion of Cronkite’s papers. His family donated more personal items to the collection, including Cronkite’s desk.

Though the exhibit is extensive, it is only the tip of the iceberg. “The collection is huge,” she said. “It was a painstaking process to choose.”

The process of assembling the exhibit began with Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center and the chief curator of the exhibit who also worked with Cronkite in writing the memoir “Conversations with Cronkite,” drawing up an outline with what he thought were the most important aspects of Cronkite’s life.

Carleton knew Cronkite was fascinated with space. “It was something that [was] meaningful to [Cronkite] personally,” Purdy said. Even after he retired, Cronkite applied to be one of the first civilians to experience space travel.

“There was no way to page through all the items,” Purdy said. “It would take years.” The team knew they were interested in focusing on certain stories such as the Vietnam era, Kennedy’s assassination and Cronkite’s relation with his alma mater.

The video segments that are played on television screens throughout the exhibit were then chosen based on how well they illustrated these stories.

“We could not tell the stories about Vietnam or Kennedy without [Cronkite’s] own broadcasting,” Purdy said.

Some materials were difficult to turn down as the team wanted to display every detail. For instance, before Cronkite dropped out of the University his junior year in 1935, he ran for vice president of Student Government. The team wanted to include an index-sized flyer Cronkite used for campaigning to highlight Cronkite’s leadership at the University, but chose not to because there wasn’t enough room.

“We were just trying to tell the best story we could,” Purdy said.

WHAT: Cronkite: Eyewitness to a Century
WHERE: The LBJ Library and Museum
WHEN: May 15, 2010 – January 3, 2011
TICKETS/ADMISSION: Free Admission and Parking
TIMES: Open Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed Christmas Day)