Skip to main content

LZ Kansas City: Stories and Impact of the Vietnam War

LZs, or landing zones, were used extensively in the Vietnam War to move forces in and out of combat zones. LZ Kansas City tells the stories of local veterans who “landed” back here after the war, as well as our region’s contributions and reactions.

Chapter 1 - From Soldier to Scholar

Dr. James Willbanks served in Vietnam in the early 1970s as an Army Advisor, and now teaches history at the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Willbanks shares what it’s like to teach a war he experienced first hand and his role in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War.

Chapter 2 - Sacrifice & Reflection

The Kansas City region has more than 100 memorials dedicated to veterans, the most prominent of which, the Liberty Memorial, was erected shortly after the end of World War I through the generous donations of Kansas Citians. Memorials for those who were killed in Vietnam were not completed until the mid-1980s — more than a decade after the war ended. In Kansas City and at the University of Kansas, Vietnam veterans were instrumental in the planning and fundraising for memorials to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Chapter 3 - Our Place in the War

From the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth to the surrounding military bases, the Kansas City region contributed troops and strategy during the Vietnam War. But during the early years of the war, most Kansas Citians weren't particularly aware of what was happening in Vietnam. Local historians and veterans share insights on Kansas City's place in the war.

Chapter 4 - The Fight for Peace

Marches and protests against the Vietnam War began as early as 1965 in the Kansas City region and continued for the following decade. Antiwar activities were not just limited to local college campuses like the University of Kansas and University of Missouri - Kansas City, but also arose in the parks and streets of our metro. Vietnam Veterans Against the War and other groups organized vigils, marches and demonstrations in their fight for peace.

Chapter 5 - Women in War

An estimated 265,000 military women served their country during the Vietnam War all over world, and approximately 11,000 were stationed in Vietnam during the conflict. Among those women was Lou Eisenbrandt, who joined the Army Nurse Corp and served as a nurse in Vietnam. Belton, Missouri, native Patricia Porter also felt called to serve and after enlisting in the Army in 1965 was stationed stateside as an operating room specialist.

Explore Local Vietnam War Memorials | 360 Video

---These stories are part of Flatland and KCPT's local engagement and reporting leading up the broadcast of a new, 18-hour documentary series The Vietnam War from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The Vietnam War affected the lives of numerous Kansas Citians including veterans, civilians, activists and refugees. We hope you'll share your insights with us here.