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Vietnam war veteran shares stories with AP Lang classes

Remembering+our+past.+Vietnam+war+veteran%2C+Captain+Beddingfield%2C+talks+with+AP+Lang+students+about+his+experience+from+the+Vietnam+war.+Students+listened+to+his+stories+and+asked+any+questions+that+they+had+about+his+time+in+the+war.+
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Vietnam war veteran shares stories with AP Lang classes

Remembering our past. Vietnam war veteran, Captain Beddingfield, talks with AP Lang students about his experience from the Vietnam war. Students listened to his stories and asked any questions that they had about his time in the war.

Remembering our past. Vietnam war veteran, Captain Beddingfield, talks with AP Lang students about his experience from the Vietnam war. Students listened to his stories and asked any questions that they had about his time in the war.

Sadie Rawlings

Remembering our past. Vietnam war veteran, Captain Beddingfield, talks with AP Lang students about his experience from the Vietnam war. Students listened to his stories and asked any questions that they had about his time in the war.

Sadie Rawlings

Sadie Rawlings

Remembering our past. Vietnam war veteran, Captain Beddingfield, talks with AP Lang students about his experience from the Vietnam war. Students listened to his stories and asked any questions that they had about his time in the war.

Sierra Wamsley and Kate Haas

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Students gather around, eager to hear the stories of Captain Beddingfield, a Vietnam war veteran. He shares his stories, as well as takes pictures with the students. His experiences seem completely foreign to these students, who are around the same age that he was when he served.

Captain Beddingfield, one of the few surviving Vietnam war veterans, visited South Forsyth High School AP Lang classes. These classes had just finished studying the novel The Things They Carried, written by Vietnam veteran, Tim O’Brien. The novel is a collection of linked fictional short stories surrounding the Vietnam war.

After graduating from Western Carolina University, Beddingfield attended Infantry Officer Candidate School and then headed to serve in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Beddingfield served as the infantry platoon leader for Company C, 1/35 Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.  Beddingfield was discharged as a Captain. After serving, he spent his professional career practicing law in Georgia, beginning in 1984, still occasionally practicing today. Decades after the time of his service in Vietnam, he shares his stories of war with students at South.

As he talked throughout the day, he shared different stories of his personal experiences in warfare. This experience allowed the class to talk directly with a Vietnam veteran and compare it to what they read for class.

“Captain Beddingfield allowed us to see the teachings of the novel in a more personal way,” Junior Ethan Barrilleaux exclaimed. “He told us stories the way O’Brien wanted them to be told as alluded to in his novel.”

Throughout his presentation, he showed students images that he took during his time in Vietnam. These pictures capture the stories he shared.

“The most memorable to me was when he told us about the buddies he had in the war,” Barrilleaux shared.

An important theme in The Things They Carried is the power of storytelling. Through Beddingfield’s stories, students were able to directly see this idea and realize it’s importance.

Captain Beddingfield is proud of his time spent serving in the war.

When asked about his most significant moment, Beddingfield responded, “During my time as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam, I did not have a person killed in action. We had some wounded, but none killed.”

The purpose of this experience was to deepen the students’ understanding of the Vietnam war.

Barrilleaux connected to Captain Beddingfield’s presentation saying, “My view of The Things They Carried became much more personal and universal.

This gave students a more meaningful understanding of the themes discussed in the novel. By talking to veterans, students are able to expand their view of war outside the textbook and humanize the soldiers.

History teacher Brian Fahey said, “Although a first-hand account may contain some bias, it is important to listen to and understand that perspective to get a fuller picture of the impacts of the war. Speaking to veterans gives war a human face, going beyond discussing politics, tactics, and casualty numbers.”

Captain Beddingfield’s presentation was a valuable experience that students are sure to remember. Through his discussion, students were able to expand the themes from The Things They Carried beyond the novel and relate it to the real world.

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About the Contributors
Sierra Wamsley, Associate Editor
Sierra Wamsley is a junior at South Forsyth High School. She is beyond thrilled for her third year year on The Bird Feed staff. When she is not working hard on her school studies, you can find Sierra splashing in the pool or writing a new story. She will be continuing on the South Forsyth Swim and Dive Team for the third year in October. Whenever you run into her, she’ll always have a big smile on her face and a positive attitude. Sierra spends the majority of her free time engaged in music whether it be the Piano or Violin or Choral Music. She enjoys jamming out to pop music with her brothers in the car on weekends. One item that has always been on her bucket list for the future is visiting Greenland. You can reach Sierra on Twitter at @wamsley_sierra or email her at [email protected] .
Kate Haas, Features Editor
Kate Haas is a junior at South Forsyth High School and this is her second year working on The Bird Feed. One can often find her watching The Office or New Girl on Netflix, reading a book, or studying for her many AP classes. She enjoys playing lacrosse and is a member of the South Forsyth team. Her interests include eating sushi, writing stories, and laughing at memes. Kate has a passion for community service and believes that we should all do the best we can to help others. She is a proud Gryffindor and has read the Harry Potter series more times than she can count. Her friends would describe her as kind, independent, and a huge book nerd. She aspires to someday live in New York City and plans to travel around the world. Kate is looking forward to this year as features editor on The Bird Feed and cannot wait to see what articles she gets to write.

You can contact her by email at [email protected] or check out her twitter @khbirdfeed
Sadie Rawlings, Online Editor
Sadie Rawlings is sophomore and a new member of The Bird Feed staff this year. She usually spends her free time in the gym where she prepares for upcoming CrossFit competitions or spends time at home watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. In addition to writing for The Bird Feed, she runs her own lifestyle blog called Sadie’s Ways where she writes about her passions for food, fitness, and fun. She loves to find new recipes and test them out, especially southwest salads. Most people would describe Sadie as dedicated, bold, and organized; it’s her goal to do everything to her best ability and to take challenges head-on. She is excited to be on staff this year as she grows as a journalist.

Feel free to contact her at @SadieRBirdFeed or [email protected]
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Vietnam war veteran shares stories with AP Lang classes