Iowa Exhibit at Military Museum Highlights Efforts of POW Wives

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is hosting an exhibit highlighting the efforts of POW/MIA wives.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A new exhibit at the Iowa Gold Star military museum shines a light on the families behind veterans, especially the wives of prisoners of war in Vietnam.

The exhibition is titled “The League of Wives: Vietnam’s POW/MIA Allies and Advocates”, based on Heath Hardage Lee’s book “League of Wives”.

The exhibit traces the stories of several women who formed the National League of Families of American Prisoners. They had the same goal of fighting for their husband’s freedom.

“The families’ wives are trying to pressure the government to release the men from the Hanoi Hilton and related prisons, as well as to account for the missing men,” Hardage Lee said.

Michael Vogt, curator at the museum, said it was their first traveling exhibition. He noted that this was an important event to host as it shares a piece of American history that shows how these women went to great lengths to help their husbands.

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Vogt also said anyone who sees the exhibit will learn more about Iowa’s ties to the exhibit and how they were on the front lines trying to get POWs released.

“We have a unique set of scrapbooks which were put together by the mother of naval aviator Larry Spencer and so they are a great resource and they contain a number of clippings and a number of stories” , Vogt said.

Lee said exhibits like this help shine a light on people who aren’t often included in important conversations.

“I want you to go back and realize that these were traditional military wives who played by the rules until our government didn’t help them, didn’t listen to them and they decided to s ‘to express.”

The exhibition will continue until August 31.

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