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Author: Lee Matz

Napalm Girl: Vietnam veterans embrace Kim Phúc and her message of love during Milwaukee visit

One of the most unforgettable images from the Vietnam War was of a little girl running naked, after surviving an accidental napalm attack on the village of Trảng Bàng. The composition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph “The Terror of War,” taken by Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut, captured the shattered innocence and tragedy of the American conflict there. No longer that 9-year-old little girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc commemorated the 47th anniversary of that bombing during a visit in Wisconsin on June 8, with a powerful message of hope. Known as the “Napalm Girl,” Kim Phúc still carries the physical...

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Joe F. Campbell: From Trảng Bàng to Big Boy and the little moments in war that offer hope

Vietnam has been one of the central influences of my life, growing up in its aftermath. The war had a profound effect on my childhood. From when I first lived with family in Milwaukee, while my father served his tour there, to even now as an older adult. There seems to be no escape from its gravitational pull. Experiences continue to reconnect me with memories from years ago. Over the past few years I have reported on and photographed events that were attended by many Milwaukee veterans, particularly from the Vietnam War era. It has been a privilege to...

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44 years after the Fall of Saigon: Fathers, Footsteps, and Photos from Vietnam 22 years ago

American history records the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 as the end of the Vietnam War. It happened before that for me, when my father completed his tour of duty there. Growing up in a military home, with stories from the American Civil War to World War 2 and Korea, my perception as small child was that when soldiers came home it meant the war was over. Basically, the soldiers kept fighting until it was done, because they could not come back until it was “over over there.” So if my father was home, to my way...

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A Million Moments of Pride: Families and rainbows fill route for Milwaukee’s 2019 LGBT parade

The 15th Annual Milwaukee Pride Parade roared across 2nd Street on June 9, the last day of PrideFest, lining the almost mile-long route with thousands of revelers of all ages. Light rain showers towards the conclusion of the parade did little to dampen the jubilant and festive atmosphere of the 2019 event, themed “A Million Moments of Pride,” which started at Greenfield Avenue to stretched to Oregon Street. Musical entertainment included DJ Shawna and Betsy Ade on the Walker’s Pint float, along with 130 groups and organizations, and elected officials and like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Lt. Governor Mandela...

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Postman’s Porch: Transformed Postman Square creates a “third space” for downtown neighbors

Although technically a triangle, downtown’s Postman Square was transformed into Postman’s Porch with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 4, breathing new life into the underutilized prime location and making it a “third space” for the area community. The Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 put their “stamp” on Milwaukee’s latest public space, Postman’s Porch, at the convergence of Plankinton Avenue, Wells Street, and 2nd Street. In partnership with members of the neighborhood, the traffic triangle was redeveloped through $12,000 of private investments, converting the space into a morning, midday, and after-hours meeting spot. “Earlier this year, under the guidance of...

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Exclusive: John McGivern and John Gurda illuminate why Milwaukee should Light the Hoan Bridge

As host of the Emmy-award winning Milwaukee PBS series “Around the Corner with John McGivern,” John McGivern has a great deal of insight into the local area. As an unofficial ambassador for promoting Milwaukee, he has supported many community projects that uplift the city and its residents. So with a direct line of sight to the Hoan Bridge from where he lives downtown, it was natural that he would want to help the initiative working to light the expansive landmark. Along with show companion and legendary historian John Gurda, McGivern filmed a promotion video in his downtown home to...

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