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september/october 2007

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By Brian J. Mulcrone
As you first enter the display area of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, you cannot fail to notice a set of large yellow footprints painted on the floor leading you to the first corner of a display called “Marine and His Art.” The entryway beckons with a sign that reads “ISSUED and BEYOND—One Marine’s Time ‘In Country.’”

Last spring the Museum hosted a special art display that wove together a wide variety of visual and object elements. Marine Vietnam veteran Don Morrill, a member of VVA Chapter 209 in Chicago, created the display, which included a wide-ranging assortment of artifacts, souvenirs, and print materials that documented portions of his 1965-68 tours in Vietnam.

The display included memorabilia that Morrill collected during and after his Marine Corps career: a cornucopia of uniforms, equipment, military publications, flags, assorted weaponry, tools, elements of everyday life, and items from the enemy. Occupying a prominent space in the middle of the display is a full-sized, sand-bagged bunker.

Before leaving Morrill’s art space, the most graphic item lies at your feet near the exit: a government-issued body bag, a stark reminder of the costs of war.

 

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