Veterans Take Center Stage in New Lecture Series

By Courtney Crumpton

The East Texas War and Memory Project, in collaboration with the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies, is proud to launch the War and Memory Lecture Series for 2013-2014. United States Air Force Major General Chris Adams will be the inaugural speaker of the series.

Dedicated to making public history more relevant and accessible, the War and Memory Lecture Series will facilitate a dialogue between veterans and the university community, the city of Commerce, and students in local schools. With many students growing up without hearing stories of their relatives’ wartime experiences in long-ago wars, the series will bridge the generation gap as veterans describe the realities of war and its effects on them and their families both during and after their service. The idea for the Lecture Series originated with the interns of the East Texas War and Memory Project who wanted to bring the stories they heard from veterans to a wider audience.

Intern Courtney Crumpton said, “Society remembers the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, but we often forget to celebrate the veterans who are still living. Two national holidays are inadequate to honor the dedication and commitment of those who protected our way of life.”

Lecture Series events will occur one Wednesday each month, and audiences will be treated to a talk from a veteran who served in one of the following conflicts: World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, or the Vietnam War. Presentations may range from a traditional lecture to a moderated interview, but those in attendance will have an opportunity to ask questions of each veteran.

“Working with the East Texas War and Memory Project is a life-changing experience and the Lecture Series allows us to share a small piece of that experience with other people—students, faculty, and community members,” explained Hayley Hasik, the Project Coordinator. “The selection of veterans from different eras also allows the public to consider similarities and differences of each veteran’s experience.”

General Chris Adams, inaugural speaker, is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University-Commerce, and he served as Chief of Staff for the Strategic Air Command and as Associate Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received many commendations during his service, including the Distinguished Air Medal, the Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, and two Air Medals for his service in combat. The author of numerous books and novels on the Cold War and international diplomacy.

General Adams will kick-off this year’s Lecture Series on Wednesday, September 18, at 3:00 pm in Conference Room C of the Rayburn Student Center. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

The East Texas War and Memory Project is dedicated to preserving the stories of World War II, Korea, Cold War, and Vietnam veterans by recording oral histories and collecting artifacts illustrating each veteran’s experiences, including service records, photographs, and written correspondence. These sources are housed in the Archives of the James Gee Library and are available to students and scholars alike. Those interested in the work of the ETWMP can follow their work at