Written By Logan Smith |
Photos By Abby Pitarra and Logan Smith |
On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Vietnam War Veteran Michael John Valenti who is a resident of Clinton was invited to come to talk to Diana Rizzo’s and Emily Russell’s U.S History classes about his time in Vietnam. He showed images and told stories about what happened in Vietnam when he was there.
Mr. Valenti emailed Principal Keri Hagness after the Veteran’s Day Assembly in November and offered to speak to students. She said she is always looking for ways to bring history to life to her students and guest speakers are a great way to do that.
The Vietnam War was a war that was fought from 1955-1975 and it was between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. It was a war between Communism and Democracy. North Vietnam was on the communist side with nations like the Soviet Union, North Korea, and China. South Vietnam was on the democracy side with the United States, Thailand, South Korea, and other anti-communist countries.
Michael John Valenti was drafted to enter Vietnam and would serve in Vietnam from July 13, 1969, to July 11, 1970. He was a sergeant and served in the Charlie Company Third Platoon, First Platoon-Twelfth infantry, and eleventh brigade American Division. He got $96 a month for service plus another $65 in a war zone.
He described his position in Vietnam. He made sergeant in 14 months. He described the people he met in Vietnam and his friends in his unit such as his second captain. In Vietnam, the men had to guard at night watch for Sappers which were also known as Viet Cong. He
explained the different weapons they used such as a mortar which is an artillery weapon which fires explosive shells. Mr. Valenti shared photos and artifacts from his service in Vietnam.
The freshmen in both Ms. Rizzo’s and Ms. Russell’s history classes enjoyed his presentation. During his presentation, students took notes, expanding their knowledge on The Vietnam War.
Ms. Rizzo said the student feedback from the presentation was overall very positive: “Students could feel Mr. Valenti’s emotions as he described his experience during the war. I was glad that Mr. Valenti was able to bring in the history and culture of Vietnam, as well as the military side of the conflict.” She would love to have him come back next year, and he said he would love to speak to next year’s students.
Mr. Valenti’s main goal of coming to Morgan was to give the class a “history lesson” about Vietnam. He wants students to learn from his experiences.
Thank you, Mr. Valenti, for your service, for dedicating your life to fighting for our country, and for sharing the experience with students at Morgan.