The Vietnam War Summit
From April 26-28, 2016, the LBJ Presidential Library and The University of Texas at Austin hosted The Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. The summit took a substantive, unvarnished look at the most controversial facet of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy: The Vietnam War. It was our goal to shed a definitive light on the war, its lessons, and legacy as well as recognize the men and women who courageously served in Vietnam.
When the LBJ Presidential Library was dedicated in May 1971, President Johnson proclaimed to the assembled crowd, "It's all here, the story of our time--with the bark off. There is no record of a mistake, or an unpleasantness or a criticism, that is not included in the files here." Accordingly, he wanted his presidential library to reflect not only the triumphs of his administration, but the failures, too--and he wanted us to learn from them to build a better future for our country.
The passage of years offers greater perspective and an opportunity to elucidate the complexities of a war that altered not only our history, but our perception of ourselves as a nation. To look at it “with the bark off” may help us to move on stronger and more united. That would have been President Johnson's hope, just as it remains ours.