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“The Things They Carried” Open House

Contact: Barbara McGuire, Park and Recreation |

A Hands-on, Interactive Experience

The Wichita Park and Recreation Department is hosting “The Things They Carried,” an interactive exhibit of personal items and equipment carried by combat soldiers, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Orchard Recreation Center, 4808 W. 9th St.

The exhibit is part of the Big Read community literacy project. Attendees will see items carried by soldiers from the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam War. Residents can try on a Mae West vest or WWII steel pot helmet and feel the weight of a backpack parachute, cartridge belt, haversack and more. They will also be able to hold military weapons such as a Thompson M1A1, Browning 30-caliber with tri-pod along with other small arms. Local military re-enactors representing the various eras will be on hand to answer questions.

Adults will also enjoy hearing passages read aloud from the book, followed by a book discussion and kids can participate in a boot camp obstacle course.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. It is designed to inspire more people to read. Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is a fictional exploration of a Vietnam War veteran's experiences before, during and after his service. For more information about The Big Read program and “The Things They Carried,” contact a Wichita public library.

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