Winter Lecture Series Focuses on WWII and Vietnam War

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History buffs can get a monthly dose of facts and insights through the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division’s 2015 Winter Lecture Series.

David Born, the division’s Historic Programs Coordinator, said the lectures, usually held on the last Thursday of the month, give people something to do when it’s cold outside. “We have established a winter lecture series to give us something for folks to do in the winter months when normally our historic sites are closed.”

All of the lectures are free to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Old Manassas Courthouse located at 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas.

This year’s lecture series will include two talks on World War II and two talks on the Vietnam War, along with a lecture about the “Missing in America Project: You are not Forgotten.”

In the first of the World War II lectures on Jan. 29, Robert F. Dorr, the author of the book “Mission to Tokyo,” will talk about the B-29 “Superfortress” aircrews that flew firebombing missions over Tokyo and the bombing of Hiroshima. Dorr’s talk will also include little known facts about the Pentagon.

The first of the Vietnam lectures, on Feb. 26, entitled “Air Cav Reminiscences of a Vietnam Veteran,” will be a commemoration of Black History Month along with a look at the Vietnam War as remembered by John Davis. Davis, U.S. Army retired, is an African American soldier who served in the reconnaissance branch of the 9thInfantry Division in Vietnam.

“Vietnam: Through a Marine’s Eyes” on March 26, will feature a non-political slide show presented by retired U.S. Marine Bill Peters, who was a platoon commander in Vietnam. Peters’ presentation will showcase America’s fight in Vietnam between 1969 and 1970.

The Missing in America Project aims to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. The “You are Not Forgotten!” lecture will be held on April 30.

On May 21, representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps Historic Company will give a talk on the amphibious assaults on Okinawa and Iwo Jima in Japan. The landing at Okinawa was the largest amphibious operation of World War II.

Born said the division decided on the 20th-century focus because people asked for it. “We chose the 20th Century because the folks that come to our lectures on a regular basis, they have expressed interest in that. We thought that it be a nice addition to our lecture series … One of the things that I have noticed in doing the lectures over a long period of time is that some of the folks that attend my lectures were actually kids during World War II; and so, because it directly affects them or directly affected their lives as kids, they’re interested in it.”

In case of inclement weather, the division will follow the Prince William County Schools closing schedule. “If schools are closed we cancel the lecture.” The division will try to reschedule any lectures that are canceled, Born said.

Additional information about the lecture series and the County’s historic properties is available atwww.pwcgov.org/historicpreservation.

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