JACKSON, Miss. – Pfc. Milton L. Olive, III, of Lexington, Mississippi, was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor for involvement in the Vietnam War. Mississippi Public Broadcasting invites the public to honor Olive and all Mississippi Vietnam veterans from 3-6 p.m. Nov. 9 during its Vietnam Reflections: Mississippi Stories program at the MPB Auditorium, 3825 Ridgewood Road in Jackson.
On Oct. 22, 1965 Olive, 18, sacrificed his life to save the lives of four soldiers in his platoon. Four veterans who were in Olive’s platoon will reunite and be panelists for the program’s panel discussion. They are William Yates of Mobile, Alabama; Robert Toporek of Audubon, Pennsylvania; Wayne Short of Carthage, North Carolina; and Samuel Grimes of Enterprise, Alabama.
The program will also include a screening of MPB’s original documentary Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience. Mississippi Gospel icon Melvin Williams will perform songs and Sweet Potato Queen, author and philanthropist Jill Conner Browne will serve as emcee. Posting the Colors will be Murrah High School’s JROTC. The MPB Foundation will host a reception following the program.
The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Go to EventBrite online to register.
More than 58,000 Americans died fighting in Vietnam, including more than 600 Mississippians. The MPB documentary Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience features six Mississippi Vietnam veterans who tell what it was really like fighting in one of America’s most controversial wars.
Those veterans are James Young of Jackson, Charles Brown of Hattiesburg, Rep. Manly Barton of Moss Point, Joseph Pierce of Ocean Springs, Rep. Elton “Mac” Huddleston of Pontotoc and Doyle Whitehead of Gloster.
MPB’s Corey Hart is the producer/director of Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience. MPB’s Art McAlpin and Kathryn Rodenmeyer are associate producers.
The Nov. 9 event marks the third program MPB has hosted in 2017 to honor Mississippi Vietnam War veterans. The first was Sept. 1 in Ocean Springs. The second event took place Nov. 1 in Tupelo.
The Nov. 9 program is financially assisted by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.
For more information, visit http://www.mpbonline.org/vietnam/.