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Release: Immediate

Veterans to share thoughts on visiting Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial is a hushed space in the middle of the nation's bustling capital city. Friends, family, and even strangers to those whose names are engraved on the black granite slabs enter the walkway in front of the memorial in much the same way that they would enter a church or other sacred building. The memorial elicits a range of reactions from visitors, but no one experiences the memorial in the same way as the veterans of the Vietnam conflict.

Iowa City residents can hear from two veterans about their experiences visiting the memorial. On Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., Dennis Fouts and Phil Ross, both of Iowa City, will share their thoughts on the memorial in a presentation titled, "The Vietnam War Memorial Experience: A Conversation with Veterans." Sarah Farmer, an assistant professor of history at the University of Iowa, will moderate the discussion, which will be in Room 106 Gilmore Hall and is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the UI School of Religion in conjunction with its Spring 1999 photo exhibition, "Holy Places: A Comparative View."

The exhibit seeks to identify some of the holy places around the world and demonstrate the similarities and differences among places considered holy by various groups of people. One of the photos on display pictures the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

George Nickelsburg, professor of religion, and Allen Roberts, professor of anthropology, collaborated on this project to create a display that includes American Indian, Buddhist, Canaanite, Christian, Dogon, Druid, ancient Egyptian, ancient Greek, Hindu, Islamic, Mayan, Mormon, and Muslim holy places.

"Holy Places" will be on display through July 1 on the third floor of Gilmore Hall and is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact the UI School of Religion at (319) 335-2164 or send an email to Nickelsburg at