HOLMDEL, NJ - The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will host a discussion on the My Lai Massacre with Professor Louise Barnett of Rutgers University at the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 1 p.m.
Professor Barnett will discuss her extensive research on American military justice in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the My Lai massacre and its important role as a historical lesson. She will also discuss her experiences in March 1998 at the awarding of the prestigious Solder’s Medal to the three-member helicopter crew credited with stopping the massacre as well as her trip to Vietnam for the anniversary commemoration of My Lai. Professor Barnett will share photographs of her trip as a backdrop to her discussion.
The My Lai Massacre was a mass murder conducted by a unit of the United States Army on March 16, 1968 when estimated 347-504 civilians in South Vietnam were killed. More than a year later, when details of the massacre became public knowledge, the American public’s support of the Vietnam War was further diminished. It was not until 30 years later that the three American servicemen who attempted to halt the massacre were finally honored by both the U.S. Army and the Vietnamese government.
Professor Barnett received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Bryn Mawr College in 1972 and has been at Rutgers since 1976 as a member of the English Department, an associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a director of Study Abroad programs in Florence, Italy and Brighton, England, and a fellow of the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis in 1998 and 2005. She joined the American Studies Department in 2005 and she has developed two particular specialties: the Vietnam War and Native American history and literature.
While Professor Barnett’s primary field is nineteenth-century American culture, which she has pursued in a number of directions including military history. Her books, Touched by Fire: The Life, Death, and Mythic Afterlife of George Armstrong Custer and Ungentlemanly Acts: The Army’s Notorious Incest Trial have been widely and favorably reviewed.
In 2010 Professor Barnett's third book, Atrocity and American Military Justice in Southeast Asia, was published by Routledge. This book contrasts the treatment of crimes against civilians committed by American personnel with those for which the Japanese general Yukio Yamashita was tried at the end of World War II.
Attendees are asked to RSVP to (732) 335-0033. Teachers who attend this program will receive professional development credit hours. Admission is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel. Adult admission is $5.00; student and senior citizen admission is $3.00. Children under 10 are admitted free. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center is located adjacent to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial off the Garden State Parkway at exit 116. The Museum & Educational Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Please visit our website at www.njvvmf.org for more information.