Berman Advises on the Education Center at The Wall
Dr. Larry Berman, founding dean of the Georgia State Honors College, has written many books on the Vietnam War since Planning a Tragedy in 1982. But the project he is currently working on will leave a standing legacy in Washington D.C.
Because of his level of expertise on the subject, Berman was chosen, along with nine other scholars, by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to join the Advisory Committee for the construction of an education center next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Washington D.C.’s most visited site.
“It’s great to be an academic and live in the scholarly world, but then to be able to take that knowledge and bring it to the general public,” Berman said. “To be able to contribute to something like the Education Center at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, to me, is the dream of a lifetime.”
The Education Center at The Wall will provide visitors with the opportunity to not only honor their Vietnam War heroes, but also learn about the war.
The building will cover approximately 35,000 square feet, and will showcase a display of the faces of the names at The Wall, a timeline of the Vietnam War, the history of battles America was involved in, tributes to the soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and an exhibition of more than 400,000 personal items that have been left at The Wall.
“Our other goal is to bring to life for future generations what the war was all about as history,” Berman said. “It’s more than just names– It’s going to be educational and, I think, very moving on a personal level.”
Berman has a strong connection to the Vietnam War himself, as well as Vietnam today. Since his college years, he has developed a continuing passion for the subject and has spent more than three decades researching and writing about it.
“The Vietnam War was a pivotal time in my life,” Berman said. “…The war divided this country and it took us a long time to come to grips with losing. When I was in graduate school studying Political Science at Princeton University, I decided that, after writing my dissertation, one of the things I wanted to do was to go into the archives in the Johnson Library in Austin, Texas and do research on how the decision was made to take over the Vietnam War in July of 1965. That became the book Planning a Tragedy. ”
Berman and his colleagues are reviewing content and advising about the information that will be included in the Center, which will be open in approximately two years.
Even though the Honors College doesn’t have an involvement in the project, Berman said he would love to take Honors students to visit the site and Washington D.C. in a few years.
“It would make a terrific Maymester,” Berman said.
For Berman, it is an honor to contribute with the building of the Center.
“It’s a labor of love, if anything,” Berman said. “It’s a great passion. It’s something that I have spent my whole life writing about and preparing for– a moment like this to be able to contribute. It’s what I consider leaving a legacy for future generations.”