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Vietnam Graffiti Project Stirs Emotions at UMaine-Augusta

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Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services co-hosts exhibit featuring words and art from Vietnam-era troopship

Maine Veterans Services crestAUGUSTA, MAINE (August 10, 2017) – For the first time ever, the compelling Vietnam Graffiti Project is on display in Maine at the University of Maine at Augusta. The exhibit, co-hosted by the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, features an actual berthing unit from the U.S.N.S. General Nelson M. Walker troopship along with hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking notes and art work documented on its walls and canvas beds by the men it transported to war.

“The Walker troopship was a vessel whose passengers were knowingly being delivered to war and possible death,” stated Gregory Fahy, Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine at Augusta. “The images and writings they left behind are full of love, anger, and dark humor. They provide a vivid, candid portrait of one of the most turbulent times in American history.”

The 608-feet-long U.S.N.S. General Nelson M. Walker, was capable of carrying 5,000 troops at a time and made the voyage to Vietnam throughout 1966 and 1967. Many of its passengers were Maine natives.

The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services is planning a Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Ceremony at the exhibit on August 17. At the ceremony, Vietnam Veterans from Maine will receive the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services’ Vietnam certificate and coin, in addition to a lapel pin from the national 50th Commemoration celebration. For more information regarding the ceremony or to register a Vietnam Veteran for the ceremony, please contact Laura Allen with the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services at 207-430-5816 or laura.e.allen@maine.gov.

Described as a “gigantic steel time capsule,” the exhibit was originally discovered by Jack Fisk, a production designer researching architectural details to construct a film set for Terrence Malick’s movie, Thin Red Line. Along with his neighbor, Art Beltrone, a military artifact historian, Fisk toured the Walker and the two friends were astonished by what they found. A preservation effort, led by Beltrone, was soon developed and ultimately became the Vietnam Graffiti Project – a traveling exhibit that has been showcased all around the country.

The Vietnam Graffiti Project will be on display at the University of Maine at Augusta until August 18. It is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.

About Maine Bureau of Veterans Services
The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services was established in 1947 by the State of Maine and is part of the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. Our mission is to help Mainers who served, and their loved ones, understand and navigate the benefits, services, and programs available to them. The Bureau does this by being a responsive, experienced, and dedicated advocate. The Bureau is headquartered at Camp Keyes and has seven field service offices located throughout the state and a claims office located at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Togus, Maine. The Bureau also operates the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery System which includes four veterans’ cemeteries. For more information about the Bureau or to request assistance, please visit our website at www.maine.gov/veterans.

Contact: Melissa Willette
Director of Communications
Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services
O: (207) 430-6004
C: (207) 446-6293