You are cordially invited

For those who haven’t heard, LZ Lambeau is coming to Green Bay beginning May 21.

Presented in real life stories, art exhibits, artifacts and song, LZ Lambeau is part history lesson, part welcome home party, and all overdue acknowledgment for Wisconsin’s Vietnam veterans. It gets its name from the landing zones that Vietnam veterans were often deployed to and, of course, from the iconic Wisconsin venue in which the event will take place. With the exception of a special tribute ceremony Saturday night, all events are free to the general public. (For Vietnam vets, the ceremony is free, too.)

I think Wisconsin’s vets explain LZ Lambeau best, though:

In another promo I watched recently on YouTube, Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans explained why they hope their contemporaries attend next week’s event.  Near the end of the spot, one veteran says, “Just to be around guys and gals who have the same ghosts that you do — don’t have to talk about ’em — but just to be amongst them people will be very rewarding for you. And that will be the beginning of your healing process.”

His statement gives the rest of us good reason to attend as well:  40 years after many Wisconsin men and women returned from service in Vietnam, and veterans are talking about beginning the healing process.  It’s about time.

LZ Lambeau was inspired by interviews conducted for the upcoming Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories, airing on Wisconsin Public Television May 24, 25 and 26. LZ Lambeau is a partnership of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Public Television, along with an extensive group of veterans organizations statewide.

In support of the event, Wisconsin Public Radio has created a Web page collecting the station’s Vietnam War and LZ Lambeau-related stories. Listen to them at wpr.org/lzlambeau.

–Tammy Kempfert

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