The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The Big Read Celebrates Memorial Day

Washington, DC

"And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

?Tim O'Brien, from The Things They Carried


Joseph Ames (Joseph H. Ames, U.S. Army, Vietnam 1968-69, 1st of the 12th Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Camp Enari, Pleiku, Central Highlands) by David Turner, from the exhibition I Was There: Stories of War and Homecoming, part of Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's Big Read. Photograph courtesy of David Turner

Since 1868, the United States has celebrated Memorial Day, an opportunity to remember those who have died in service for our country. A book which gets to the center of what it means to be a soldier is Tim O?Brien?s The Things They Carried. This Memorial Day weekend, community members in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois, can take part in Big Read activities to learn more about this book and the experiences of soldiers at war.

As part of its Big Read activities, Massachusetts?s Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association will present:

  • I Was There: Stories of War and Homecoming pairs photographs with stories that explore the themes in The Things They Carried. Presented by the Gallery at Hallmark, the exhibition includes a collection of portraits of local veterans by photographer David Turner.

Chicago's Columbia College Chicago Library has three exhibits taking place in conjunction with their Big Read:

  • The Allure of VietNam, an exhibition of photographs of contemporary Vietnam by Vietnamese-American photographer Liat Smestad.
  • Necessary Fictions is an alumni art exhibition in which artists answer the questions: What experiences do you carry with you that inform your work? What are the true facts and the necessary fictions you use?
  • John Fischetti Vietnam Political Cartoons is an exhibit of political cartoons and sketches from Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist John Fischetti, capturing his take on the Vietnam War.

For more about these events and The Things They Carried, visit The Big Read website.

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