Help From a Civilian | Letters | Chicago Reader

Help From a Civilian 

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Dear Letters:

I am a navy Vietnam veteran and a friend, volunteer, and supporter of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (NVVAM) in Chicago. So I took a keen interest in Mara Tapp's piece ("Peace Offering," 3-10-2000) on the museum.

It is unfortunate that the falling-out of cofounders Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli, and Sondra Varco may have placed the museum's future in jeopardy. The NVVAM is not just a repository of art by Vietnam veterans but also an important museum of American history, which should be preserved for future generations, in the heartland of America.

Veterans and citizens are important stakeholders in the museum's survival. Therefore, I object to the snide put-down by New Jersey artist and veteran Farris Parker, quoted in the Tapp article. That, museum board chairman Richard Hackett is "not a veteran, and for him to make these arbitrary decisions..."

I don't know Richard Hackett very well, but I understand he comes from a business family. Further, I think it is wise that the museum board chairman is not a veteran given the significant unhealed wounds suffered by returned veterans of the Vietnam War. Nonveterans have played and continue to play an important role as volunteers and supporters of the museum, as it should be.

My impression is that the help of veterans and nonveterans is equally and enthusiastically appreciated by the museum leadership and staff. Call the museum at 312-326-0270 to find out for yourself.

In any case, no individual is more important than the mission of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.

Yours truly,

Tom Drake

Lansing, Illinois

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