A Minnesota PBS Initiative
Prairie Memories Inspires Empathy in the Classroom
The Vietnam War defined a generation. It changed the lives of people who fought in it and who fought against it, leaving an indelible mark on millions of people. To document how this turbulent time shaped life in the prairie region, Prairie Memories: The Vietnam War Years inspired Minnesotans and North Dakotans to remember and share stories, recognize bravery, honor those lost, express reasons for dissent, and foster understanding of the lasting impact of war.
Oral histories were shared with teachers at several workshops in the region, including a workshop in conjunction with the Fargo premiere and virtual webinars. Teachers told PPB that they were excited to share the stories of local vets with their students to make the past come alive in their classrooms and engender greater empathy.
Teachers told PPB that they were excited to share the stories of local vets with their students to make the past come alive in their classrooms and engender greater empathy.
One teacher shared the following:
"Prairie Memories: The Vietnam War Years has been an invaluable supplemental resource during our study of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”. Multiple local veterans’ stories aligned well with many of the book’s character’s struggles and triumphs bringing the story truly to life. Being able to put a local face and voice to the war made students engage with not only the texts, but their own reflections about what they had been reading, discussing, and learning in English class and history in a deeper more meaningful way.
In addition to the veterans’ stories, being able to see clips of other local stakeholders in the war whether it was a college student, a friend, or journalist allowed my students to see how far the war’s impact stretched here at home. It was striking to hear students make comments and connections about the life-long impacts of war not only on the veterans, but our local communities as well. Thank you for producing this resource."
Story Themes: Education, Prairie Memories, Prairie Public Broadcasting, Video