Santa Paula Times

This is just one of many displays about Vietnam and Santa Paula residents that served in the war. The walls are full of medals and stories about those that served. Also, a memory wall is available for those that would like to leave any messages for loved ones that did not return or even those that did serve and want to be remembered. The exhbit runs through February 25th. Photo by Don Johnson

“Vietnam, A Different Kind of War,” the new exhibit at Santa Paula’s California Oil Museum

December 12, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Susan Branham Santa Paula TimesVietnam-era veterans were honored in a ceremony marking the opening of “Vietnam, A Different Kind of War,” the new exhibit at Santa Paula’s California Oil Museum last week. The courtyard was filled to overflowing with dignitaries, families, and friends who came to remember and thank those who served in the Vietnam War. The exhibit is the class project of 65 Santa Paula High School tenth-grade students, who worked for months conducting interviews of local veterans and compiling their stories. In the process, they came face to face with the duty, honor and sacrifice of a generation of men and women who served their country in Vietnam.“The City of Santa Paula is so proud to sponsor this project,” Jeanne Orcutt, Museum Administrator, said. “I love to see their enthusiasm.” Retired Army Lt. Colonel Bob Pinkerton is one of the Vietnam Veterans who shared his story for the project. “What a wonderful day,” Pinkerton told the crowd. “To my brethren – we served in Vietnam, and proudly served in Vietnam. Thank you for the tribute you are paying to other Vietnam veterans today.” Those who made the ultimate sacrifice were remembered as family members accepted medals honoring their loved ones.“To the students and teachers, we thank you,” Pinkerton said. “We walked the same halls, and climbed those same steps, sat in the same classrooms, and looked out the same windows to the future. We heard the call to serve our country, and we answered and went.
“The Vietnam Veterans here today are heroes,” Pinkerton added. “You were the very best America had at that time. You’ve learned that freedom is not free.”“One could fill a skyscraper with information relating to the Vietnam War and never completely tell its story,” Edward Arguelles, the SPUHS history teacher who coordinated the exhibit, said. “Speaking for the students who contributed hundreds of hours of work and reflection, I would like to convey just what this project has meant to them. They have learned that war is hell and that human life is sacred – that little things we take for granted like a hot meal, a sweetheart’s smile, mothers’ and fathers’ comforting words, and brothers’ and sisters’ laughter and tears are not to be forsaken.”“Thank you to the Vietnam Veterans for your generosity to the students, opening your hearts with your extraordinary stories,” Edward Arguelles said. The exhibit runs through February 25. The California Oil Museum on Main Street is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.