*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

A Conversation on Vietnam

In September, PBS will broadcast ten episodes of award-winning film-maker Ken Burns' project The Vietnam War. Each episode will be ninety minutes in length. Burns has been working on this topic for ten years, and has stated it was his hardest film to make but that it is his best work. He says that he sees PBS as “a place to come  together and begin to have courageous conversations.” This course offering will be an opportunity for OLLI members to come together, view Mr. Burns' work, and a have a conversation about Vietnam. The first two class sessions, prior to the debut of the documentary, will focus on Vietnamese history and culture. These presentations will be made by OLLI instructor, Heyward Macdonald based on his book Everything Changed: the Vietnam War and American Culture: Lessons Learned and Not Learned. Subsequently, each week after a PBS Burns episode has aired, the class will meet to have a conversation about the episode. Class members will be encouraged to react to what has been presented as well as share their  experiences during this turbulent time in our nation’s history. Conversation leaders will be Heyward Macdonald and Bob Lorish who both served in Vietnam and have taught an OLLI class in the past entitled Vietnam, what it was like to be there.

Instructor Bio:

Bob Lorish served as a Marine infantry platoon commander in I Corp in Vietnam in 1968-69. His experiences included both small- and large-unit operations in varying terrain and weather. He also spent time supporting Marine counter-insurgency operations called CAPs (combined action platoons). Following discharge from the Marine Corps in 1970, Bob received a doctorate from Boston University and spent a career of more than 30 years in behavioral healthcare. He remains in contact with many of his fellow Marine lieutenants who served in Vietnam as they attempt, after more than 40 years, to sort out their experiences in that far-off country.
Heyward Macdonald served as an army officer in Vietnam and became a student of the psychology and spirituality of the return of veterans from the Vietnam War while earning a doctorate at Virginia Theological Seminary. He believes that there are distinct differences in re-entry from that war as compared to a war perceived by the culture as moral and good. Heyward returned to Vietnam for a month in 1999, traveling throughout the country with his older son. Heyward holds BS, MBA, MDiv, and DMin degrees and served as an Episcopal priest in Virginia and Maryland for 32 years.

Required Reading:

Watch the Ken Burns series on Vietnam on PBS.

Recommended Reading:

Macdonald, Heyward. Everything Changed: The Vietnam War and American Culture: Lessons Not Learned, 2015. Marlantes, Karl. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, 2011. Marlantes, Karl. What it is Like to Go to War, 2011.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
A07 Bob Lorish Sep 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 7, 14, 21 Tu 2:00-3:30 p.m. Unity of Charlottesville WL

Return to Courses