Speaking Topics 

by Trent Angers

The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story

     One of America’s foremost war heroes, Hugh Thompson was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save unarmed Vietnamese civilians and put a stop to the infamous My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War in 1968.

     This is an inspiring talk that deals with the courage to do the right thing under extremely difficult circumstances, regardless of the consequences.

     Thompson was one of the Army’s star witnesses against the butchers of My Lai. He was shunned by fellow soldiers as he testified in court against Lt. William Calley and others. Because he had to go against fellow U.S. soldiers to save the civilians, Thompson was treated as a traitor for 30 years after My Lai – until 1998, when he finally received the Soldier’s Medal for bravery.

     This is a powerful, inspiring talk about courage, honor and integrity.

     (Note: The presentation includes a brief video of Thompson’s returning to My Lai to be reunited with some of the women and children he saved 30 years earlier.)

President Nixon’s obstruction of justice in the My Lai Massacre trials:

A new piece of American history

     This talk reveals an intriguing and formerly unknown chapter of U.S. history that the speaker pieced together over several years while doing research and interviews for his book, The Forgotten Hero of My Lai.

     The news is this: President Nixon initiated an effort to sabotage the My Lai Massacre trials so that no U.S. soldier would be convicted of a war crime in connection with the killing of 504 Vietnamese civilians.

     Evidence from numerous sources makes it clear that Nixon and his political allies tried to obstruct justice in these military trials. The evidence includes the handwritten notes of Nixon’s chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman; personal interviews with one of the chief prosecutors of the My Lai Massacre trials; letters from the Secretary of the Army and various congressmen; and much more.

Hurricane Katrina heroes

       Based on the book by the speaker, An Airboat on the Streets of New Orleans, this talk is about two very unlikely heroes – one an ex-con and the other a woman who was dying of kidney failure.

       Using their airboat, this Cajun couple from Breaux Bridge, La., went into New Orleans right after the city was flooded due to Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Moved by compassion for their neighbors in need, they rescued hundreds of helpless people from their flooded homes – and later were given awards for heroism by the City of New Orleans.

The Truth about the Cajuns

      The Cajun culture of south Louisiana has got to be one of the most highly publicized, most often distorted subjects in the American media today. To read the articles in some of the travel magazines and metropolitan newspapers, you’d swear that all the Cajun people do is eat, drink and dance.

      But, nothing could be further from the truth!

      This talk helps to dispel the myths and stereotypes about the French-Acadian, or Cajun, people and to portray them with the accuracy and dignity to which they are entitled.

GRAND COTEAU: The Holy Land of South Louisiana

       Based on the speaker’s book by the same title, this presentation is about one of the truly sacred places in North America – a town of history and mystery with well-established ties to the supernatural, including the famous miracle of Grand Coteau.

       The talk deals in part with the town’s major religious institutions: the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, and St. Charles College/ Jesuit Spirituality Center. The talk explores not only the history of these institutions but the substance of their teachings – particularly the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

       The speaker also reveals the little-known fact that this special place was visited by not only one person destined for sainthood but by five.

Encouraging Words for Discouraging Times

       This motivational speech is designed to lift the spirits of the listeners and to encourage them to take their power as they pursue their goals and solve the common problems that life lays at our doorsteps.

       The speaker’s outlook is shaped in part by the writings of Henry David Thoreau, Dale Carnegie, Maxwell Maltz, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, former LSU basketball Coach Dale Brown, Dr. Robert Schuller, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.