BLOOMSBURG — 50 years have passed since Blaine Cooper returned home from the Vietnam War.
On Monday afternoon, pictures of Cooper’s experiences before, during, and after the war were unveiled and dedicated to Bloomsburg University. This project was nearly two years in the making.
“This was one of the highlights of my time here at Bloomsburg University and it was mentally enjoyable both professionally and personally,” said Professor David Fazzino, who worked with Cooper on the project said.
Cooper admittedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, so the process of going through all of the pictures was very difficult.
“I lost quite a few friends over there and a couple of people I went to school with,” Cooper said. “It was tough.”
“I’m glad he actually took the initiative to do this,” Joyce Cooper, Blaine’s wife said. “I think it was helpful for him.”
“I probably heard my first Vietnam story from my father within the last year,” Denise Baylor said. “He really didn’t talk too much about it,” she added.
This also happened to be Cooper’s birthday. It was only fitting that Bloomsburg presented him with a gift, including a scarf and chord that was lost during his trip home from the war.
“I actually wanted to cry,” Cooper said. “I never received my duffel bag. My artillery scarf and my chord for my dress uniform was in there and I lost that.”
This display comes when the Vietnam War is back in the national spotlight, through Ken Burns’ documentary on PBS.
“A lot of the movies, I can’t watch,” Cooper said. “It brings back too many memories.”