Vietnam POW exhibit opens in Fayetteville

February 12, 2012 10:47:25 AM PST
A new museum exhibit about POWs in the Vietnam War in Fayetteville is drawing tears and bringing back tough memories for some.

An exhibit at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville opened Friday. It is called "The Animal Called POW." It is a graphic and disturbing look at the way Americans POWs were treated in Vietnam.

The exhibit features Vietnam War film footage, along with custom-made and detailed mannequins, and real life firsthand accounts from Vietnam POWs. It gives a graphic and brutal story of life and death in Vietnam POW camps.

"It's very uncomfortable and it's very emotional," said exhibit curator Nicole Suarze. "When people leave here, they understand the sacrifices our soldiers make when they go overseas."

It was a part of war soldiers don't like to think about.

"You see the mental side the anguish people had, going thru a lot of physical stuff, but the mental side, it doesn't go away," said Iraq War veteran Chuck Otterstedt. "Sometimes people would rather get shot in the arm than be a POW."

Museum officials say for many Vietnam veterans who walk thru this exhibit it's an emotional moment.

"The thing that struck me the most; they would come up to me and thank me and the staff for doing this exhibit," said Museum Director Jim Bartiliniski. "When we are thanking them with this exhibit, we are honoring their sacrifice."

The exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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