Breaking the Silence: League of Wives Panel Discussion
The formation of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia is a national story with strong ties to Virginia. Fueled by their shared frustration about the United States government’s silence regarding prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese, Phyllis Galanti, Louise Mulligan, and Jane Denton—all wives of American POWs living in Virginia—began organizing under the auspices of the National League and its founder, Sybil Stockdale. They joined the efforts of other POW wives from other states-like Andrea Rander in Maryland and Marty Halyburton in Georgia, to break the silence and demand that the government account for their husbands and secure their return.
In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, The League of Wives: Vietnam’s POW/MIA Advocates & Allies, this panel discussion held on March 1, 2019 features a rare opportunity to understand the efforts of the National League by women who led it and how they, and their allies, captured national attention and united a deeply divided country behind bringing our prisoners home and by demanding an accounting for American servicemen missing in action.
Moderator: Audrey McKanna Coleman, Senior Archivist and Assistant Director of the Dole Institute of Politics
Panelists: Heath Hardage Lee, exhibit curator and author of The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home from Vietnam
Andrea Rander, founding board member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia
Marty Halyburton, Southeast Regional Coordinator and National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia board member