Officials, veterans break ground on Vietnam Experience exhibit

MOUNTPLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - Patriots Point on Friday broke ground on a new exhibitall about the Vietnam War. The museum's director said Patriots Point isexpanding to create the new area.

PatriotsPoint's Executive Director Mac Burdette says the exhibit will help visitorsfeel like they are in the middle of the Vietnam War.

Before thegroundbreaking, a large crowd of Vietnam veterans gathered at patriots Point togive and hear speeches, take and pose for pictures, and kick off the process tobuild the new exhibit.

"We havejust been named of the Department of Defense partners to host events andprograms at Patriots Point for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of thewar in Vietnam," Burdette said.

Burdettesays the 3-acre exhibit will be more than just pictures and old videos - it'sgoing to be interactive.

"This isgoing to be an immersive experience. That's why we use the word experience. Whenyou come here you are going to hear the sounds, see the sights and smells ofVietnam, and you are going to be able to push buttons and things are going tohappen and veterans are going to talk to you," Burdette said. "We are going tobring re-enactors from time to time."

The exhibitis expected to open by November, just in time for Veterans Day.

"This is ourway of saying welcome home to Vietnam veterans 50 years after the fact. Theydidn't get that welcome home like our troops do today and we are going to do ourpart in welcoming them home," he said.

Burdettesays they expect to start construction in June which he says should give them enoughtime to make their November deadline.