Monday December 5, 2011

'Echoes of War'

A documentary chronicling law professor Tom Hagel's service in Vietnam will become part of a Library of Congress collection.

A documentary chronicling University of Dayton law professor Tom Hagel's service in Vietnam will become part of the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The piece will be among the first acquisitions of the Vietnam Veterans Collections Campaign.

"Echoes of War," produced by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, features Hagel and brother, former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, returning to the two sites in Vietnam where they nearly gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.

On one occasion, the brothers were part of the same patrol that tripped a booby trap and, less than a month later, were in the same vehicle that ran over a landmine. In the first incident, Tom saved Chuck's life. In the second, Chuck returned the favor. In all, Tom was wounded three times during his tour and Chuck was wounded twice.

"Frankly, I grew up with this idea that every generation had their war; and OK, this is our turn," Tom said in "Echoes of War." "And, I think that's why so many people, certainly from the Midwest, and us, went into it with the idea it's our duty. Our father did it, and his generation, the generation before that. We went into it, at least I did, unquestionably."

Tom's dedication to service didn't end in Vietnam.

He serves as an acting judge for the Dayton municipal court and is a commissioner on the Montgomery County Veterans' Service Commission representing Disabled American Veterans. Tom also works with the American Bar Association committee to train trial advocates.

After graduation from the University of Nebraska law school, Tom became a deputy public defender for Lincoln, Neb. He also represented indigent clients at civil mental health commitment hearings.

A popular faculty member, Tom has received the University of Dayton School of Law Alumni Association President's Award and has been voted professor of the year by the students.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391.