Emma Lemp, 5, pressed her face close to the display case, pointing at relics of the Vietnam War. Her mother, Chrissy Lemp, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her grandmother, Virginia Firth, of Westminster, tried to explain to Emma the meaning of some of the artifacts on display in the traveling exhibit of items dealing with the Vietnam War and the veterans of that war.
"We're trying to teach Emma to be proud of her country," Firth said.
Carroll County is hosting the "Maryland Public Television Salutes Vietnam Veterans" traveling exhibit at two locations in the coming weeks: first at the Carroll County Public Library's Westminster Branch, where it arrived Tuesday and will be on display through July 30, and then Aug. 1 through 7 at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair.
"All of our veterans should be acknowledged for their service to our country. The exhibit is really special because it recognizes Vietnam veterans who did not receive the gratitude they deserved," said Kristen Penczek, managing director of special events and community engagement at MPT.
Penczek said the exhibit is making its way around the state to celebrate the military service of Marylanders during the Vietnam War. The public is invited to see the display at its Carroll County stops or at future venues.
"The traveling exhibit is one piece of the overall initiative that MPT took up in 2012," Penczek said. "It's a long-overdue acknowledgment of the Vietnam veterans."
Penczek said the exhibit features both current-day and wartime images of 16 men and women along with their recollections of incidents from the war. Also included are artifacts from the war donated by or on loan from Maryland veterans.
"They are all very different and incredible in their own right," Penczek said.
Christina Ogle Kuntz, manager of the library's Westminster Branch, said MPT reached out to them about the display.
"When we looked at the pictures and information, it seemed like a really interesting exhibit," Kuntz said Tuesday afternoon. "It's only been here three hours and it's already gotten a lot of attention."
Jean Boyle, of Westminster, enjoyed exploring the exhibit at the library.
"Just the pictures drew me in and then I read their stories. Just look at how proud they are," Boyle said. "It's a beautiful exhibit. I love it."
John Bulger, of Westminster, had a personal connection to the display.
"My sister was in the Navy during Vietnam, and I have a friend that was a medic. I really grew up during that time," Bulger said.
MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans is the largest project in the broadcaster's history, according to Penczek. The project will unfold in 2016 with the broadcast premiere of the three-hour documentary "Maryland Vietnam War Stories." The documentary will feature interviews with nearly 100 men and women, and will air over three nights in late May next year.
"We're not done taping the interviews. It's still a work in progress," Penczek said.
MPT will also hold a two-day special weekend event in June 2016 that will include a Huey helicopter flyover; the concluding moments of a daylong, statewide motorcycle honor ride made principally by Vietnam veterans and those of more recent wars; the traveling half-size replica of Washington's Vietnam Veterans Memorial; on-site displays of Vietnam-era military vehicles; a mobile Army surgical hospital (MASH) unit; entertainment from the Vietnam years; and solemn ceremonies to salute those Marylanders who were killed or missing in combat.
Information on the MPT Vietnam project and the travel exhibit schedule can be found at www.mpt.org/vietnam.
The "Maryland Public Television Salutes Vietnam Veterans" traveling exhibit will be on display at the following Carroll locations over the next few weeks.
• Through July 30, Carroll County Public Library Westminster Branch, 50 E. Main St., Westminster. The branch is open 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The branch is also open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
• Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair, 700 Agriculture Center in Westminster. 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday; and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday.