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Military display tells Vietnam story

What's up, my people? (African-American slang for Jambo Habari Ghani, which is "Hello, what news?" in Swahili).

An African bazaar, food fest and Vietnam War military display nearly two weeks ago at the Enoch D. Davis Center in St. Petersburg was truly an educational experience. The military display and the veterans who presented it were especially interesting.

Along with a camouflage tent complete with sandbags, they had weaponry dating back to World War I. There were examples of battle-ready field communications, C-rations and MREs (meals ready to eat), as well as a memorial dedicated to a fallen comrade.

I don't know much about the Vietnam War except that it came on television every night and only one person I knew was killed there. I admit this simply because I feel ashamed that I have never taken the time to become informed about a war that took the lives of the more than 58,000 American men and women, according to one of the veterans.

The veterans who spent two days on the lawn of the Enoch Davis Center are part of a larger group called the Suncoast Vietnam Veterans of Pinellas County Inc. The group's members were articulate and sincere; they want the African-American community to understand more about what happened to them over there.

They also operate a speakers bureau and will talk to groups or organizations. Call Dan Norris at 822-9011. You also can call Tony Taylor at the Vet Center, 893-3791, for information.

The men who came to our neighborhood and camped out for a weekend were Daniel "O.D" Goldstone of the U.S. Marine Corps, who also is president of the group; Dan "Gunny" Norris, Marines; Jim "Wiseguy" Orndoff, Navy; Glenn "P.J." Collier, Army; Jim "Runner" Stevens, Marines; Mike "Gunner" Vitel, Marines; David "7-Up" Valdez, Army; and Daniel "Frenchie" Faurote, Marines.

Author and lecturer Jawanza Kunjufu will discuss the "Survival of the Black Race in the 21st Century" from 12:35 to 1:50 p.m. today in the Social Arts Building, Room 306, St. Petersburg Junior College, 6605 Fifth Ave N. The event is free and open to the public.

A group of veterans from the historic 24th Infantry and Regiment will be available to talk and answer questions at 3:30 today in the Johnson Branch Library located in the Enoch D. Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

Parent Support in Math and Science (PSIMAS) will have a special workshop for parents, "Hands on Science and Literature," at 7 tonight. It will be at the Mount Zion Progressive M.B. Church, 958 20th St. S, St. Petersburg.

A dance performance by the Kuumba Dancers and Drummers of Tampa, storytelling and other events depicting traditional African culture will be presented at 7 tonight in the Activities Center of the St. Petersburg Campus of the University of South Florida, 140 Seventh Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

The second annual Harambee Festival, featuring music, African storytelling and a free clothes closet, will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday on the church grounds of the Mount Zion Progressive Baptist Church, 958 20th St. S, St. Petersburg. Bring your own blankets or lawn chairs.

A wildlife magic show featuring pythons, tarantulas and other live animals will be at 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Great Explorations, The Hands on Museum, 1120 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg. For information, call 821-8992.

Reginald Yates' original work, "Crucifixions," will be performed at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg.

The eight-year anniversary of the Rev. Wayne G. Thompson, pastor of First Baptist Institutional Church, will be celebrated with two worship services Sunday. The Rev. Joseph Ratliff, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, will be the speaker at the 11 a.m. service. The Rev. Jerry Mangnum, pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, St. Petersburg, will officiate at 4 p.m. The church is at 3144 Third Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The public is invited.

A free community homebuyers seminar, which will include information on selecting the right house, credit evaluation and the mortgage prequalification process, will start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at 2120 M.L. King (Ninth) St. S, St. Petersburg. The program is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services. To make reservations, call 821-6897. Refreshments will be served.

Fort Mose, a movie depicting the African-American people in the military, will be shown at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Enoch D. Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The movie is free and open to the public.

Cradle of wisdom comes from the Ashanti ethnic group: There is no medicine to cure hatred. Harambee!