Photo: Visitors view the military displays inside the DeSoto County Museum in Hernando. The area now includes a display to represent DeSoto County service members in the Vietnam War. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
The DeSoto County Museum, known as one of the best of its type in Mississippi, has added a new display at the facility, located at 111 East Commerce Street in Hernando.
Known for highlighting everything DeSoto County, the museum has added a display focused on the Vietnam conflict, honoring all of the county’s servicemen and women who were called to duty. It is an added feature to similar displays related to other conflicts, said curator Robert Long.
“We have a large number of World War II exhibits, along with Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Enduring Freedom, all those wars and battles engaged to rid the world of dictators and tyrants that pop up from time to time,” Long said. “Needless to say, our men and women who served in Vietnam are long overdue to be recognized.”
At its peak, there were over 500,000 American soldiers in Vietnam. Over 58,000 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict, and many more suffered physical and psychological injuries.
The Vietnam War also sparked significant anti-war protests and demonstrations in the United States, leading to a deeply divided society. The war led to the rise of the anti-war movement and protests like the famous demonstrations at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen killed four students in 1970.
It was about that time that Hugh Green got the “letter,” the greetings from his “Uncle Sam,” and was drafted to service in 1969.
“Hugh Green was among those who answered the call and they did it with honor, they did it with bravery and courage,” Long said. “Oftentimes they returned to stone silence, sometimes insults when their airplanes touched down on the tarmac in this country in some cities.”
Green was asked to represent his fellow Vietnam veterans during Friday’s display unveiling before a crowded museum audience. Green donated his military uniform for the Vietnam display. He served 14 months in the jungles of Vietnam fighting in the war.
“All the men and women that served and survived and came home, and those who served who were not from DeSoto County, I represent all of them,” Green, who lives in Southaven, said. “They have done an awesome job on the display, not just a military display but the whole museum.”