Anyone Watching the PBS Documentary on the Vietnam War?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Day-Tripper, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    Kent State. Imagine advancing on protesters with fixed bayonets? Crazy. The cops/NG troops appear to be majority white as the protesters (college students) also seem to have been as well. NYPD cops clearing out Columbia, they haven't been back since!
    Actually not, a quick story. Several years ago the president of Iran was on campus to give a speech (2010ish, I think it was to deny the Holocaust, but don't remember) anyway, NYPD had 1/1/3/24 manpower I think, in the basement of the hall ready to respond if needed; the 1st time they were on campus since the 60's! The university's head of security (retired NYPD Chief) came down into the basement & told all to get comfortable, you will not respond, because if you leave this basement, he will lose his job! They never left, thankfully, not needed...LOL;)
     
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  2. truenorth

    truenorth Member

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    Memory:

    I was in first grade when our mother told us Cousin Eddie, my father’s first cousin, was coming to visit with his mother and our grandparents. He was shipping out the next morning for Vietnam.

    I remember asking either “what is that?” or “where is that?” Regardless of the question, I vividly remember my mother’s response. Not a word in reply but a look of worry on her face that I had never seen before.

    Shortly thereafter, our guests arrived. Cousin Eddie was 18 and was wearing his uniform. I don’t remember much else about the evening except my mother nudged each of us kids to give the adults and Cousin Eddie a hug and kiss goodnight. I remember his mother’s and both our grandparents’ eyes swimming in tears. I didn’t understand it but sensed something dreadful.

    After they left, I saw my father cry for the first time (and it was a very rare event over the course of his long life).

    Lucky for our family, Cousin Eddie returned after two years safe and sound. However, he later suffered the effects of Agent Orange and had to take disability. However, to this day, he is intensely patriotic but spares no words for politics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  3. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    There is much to say here and while I have started and erased a post multiple times it just isn't the right time. A significant number of veterans carry the weight of this era on their shoulders. Most choose to be silent and barely acknowledge their participation until they are sure they aren't going to be vilified for their service. Many are still affected by their time "in country" or how they were treated by their government and the general population.

    Most of the time I think we have come a long way from those days. America has evolved (for the most part) to cheer the serviceman while condemning the politician. However, I struggle with a VA system that does so many veterans a disservice. How does the voting public reconcile this disconnect?

    I suppose I have strayed from the original post. Ken Burns has done a remarkable job portraying the Vietnam "conflict" in stark reality.
     
  4. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    I remember family Christmas gatherings & summer cookouts where the adults would gather & drink & eventually the topic of the Vietnam War came up. Tones were hushed (so the kids couldn't hear), faces had frowns, heads shook, etc. We all watched war movies & war TV shows (the 1960s were filled with 'em, like "Combat", "Hogan's Heroes", "Victory ar Sea", "McHales Navy", "Gomer Pyle USMC", "12 O'Clock High", "Rat Patrol" - unlike today when there's very little) about WW2, with an occasion reference to Korea, but zilch on Vietnam - well into the 1980s actually.

    Hell, i didn't really understand there was even a war in Vietnam until after US troops were withdrawn. In our Cub Scout pack we were given POA bracelets in, say, 1971-1972, but never really had explained to us what they were for. We just thought the term "POW" was funny.

    I was born in 1964, but had no knowledge of the Vietnam War for about 10 years. Imagine a kid born in 1934 growing up without realizing WW2 was taking place?

    I wonder how many 10, 12, 15 or 18 year olds know there was an Iraq War in their lifetimes.
     
  5. schpenny

    schpenny New Member

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    Adding to my queue right now after reading this thread. loved Burns' civil war, wasn't aware he had done one on Vietnam. Thank You serviceacademyforums.
     
  6. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    I still have my cap. "The Secret War". Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
     
  7. BTCS/USN

    BTCS/USN Member

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    Finally got all the way through it last week. Rather one sided in my mind. Guess you had to be there. Oh wait.........
     
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  8. SR-71

    SR-71 5-Year Member

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    I watched Ken Burn’s “The Vietnam War” on PBS every night when the series ran last September. Every night it brought back memory either through 1st account experience or live through it. My wife could not watch after episode 4th, it was just too painful for her to relive the experience. But my son a USMA graduates watched every episode for different perspective as a military, history, strategy, lesson learn and most importantly what his grandparents, parents suffered on the consequences of war. Of course, I’m writing as a Vietnamese refugee has been living in this country for over 42 years.

    I supported “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick financially for their excellent work. The conclusion was far from perfect, for me I wish he interview more of South Vietnamese military veteran and what they suffered in the hand of the communist victor. Historians have their own way of presenting history with their bias, I accept that fact.

    Follow is the short snippet of what my family went through the Vietnam War. I never met my grandparents, so I started with my parents. During the WWII Japanese occupation of North Vietnam, my dad as a young man buried many Vietnamese people died of starvation, due to Japanese confiscated our farmland to grow war material. When came of age, he joined “Viet Minh” to fight against the French occupation. Once he realized “Viet Minh” were actually a front for communist. He quit in principal, since communist are atheist and against what he and his family stand for. He and his family was generation’s devout Catholic and land owner, by no mean an aristocrat. He was a small farmer, but they were ostracized by the local communist. He escaped his village with his young family left behind all their possessions, but his most heart wrenching were my grandparents from both side and his ancestral land.

    He left North Vietnam when the country divided. He valued nothing more than a freedom of religion and be free. With nothing in their hands, my parents rebuilt their live from the ashes and become proper economically, but the war soon follows. Last week was the 50th year of “Tet Offensive” I for the first time as young boy so many war dead! The communist used my elementary school as a base to attack the South Vietnamese army base. During the night of Tet offensive, the communist setup their mortar in front of our house and shoot over to the South Vietnamese army base. After every round, the sand just kicks off and ran down our metal roof. Thank God the South Vietnamese army refrained from return fire, because in front of our house the communist has used thousands of civilian as their shield.

    In the morning we left for the city, the second times my parents became a refugee in their own country. The war just too close for their comfort, but the war rage on with increased intensity. We were shelter from the “Summer of Fire” where communist made a concert attack everywhere. As I sat in the classroom and heard the bomb explosion in the long distance, from newspaper report we know where the battle being fought. I thought to myself a few more years I will be out there fighting. I born in this stupid war, fight in it and will die in it was my thought. Above us the American spay Agent Orange on us in the city with few trees, the communist mortar our city randomly. I just happened to go by the national cemetery and see line of open bed army trucks carry war dead from the front line to be buried. It was such a dark period and curse at war, what was the purpose! What a hell!

    As the communist advanced south ward, my parents were planning to escape for the last time. We made our way to sea, all of my dad friends declined to join him for the exodus, due to the wealth they have accumulated and they could not see themselves abandon it. When South Vietnam collapsed, that night we were on a South Vietnamese naval ship heading somewhere, but one of naval ship was planning to head back to Vietnam, due to respect for some sailors want to unite with their family. As the ship about to partway, my dad throw down a suit case of South Vietnamese money to the sailors, he told them they will need this money more than him. Just a few hours ago, it took a lifetime to accumulate, he resolute someone else needs it more than him.

    The third times both my parents start from nothing, they were factory owner to be a factory worker. They were grateful for this country and the freedom it provide. Nothing is too big or too small or beneath them, they work at anything to provide us a life. When we first arrived, I have to register for the draft. I mother was so distress and told me under no circumstances I join the military. She just got out of a hellish war most of her life, a son a Lt in South Vietnamese Army captured by the communist. She determined not to lose another son. It was mother instinct and love for her family, I understand.

    My dad made great impact on his grandson on a life of service and the word freedom and what it meant, it was never free. There is price to pay for freedom. He has to leave his parents and ancestral land, all his world possession multiple times over for us to enjoy the freedom we have today. My son took it to heart! He wants to defend the freedom of this country. He wants to pay that ultimate price for his grandfather and his father!
     
  9. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    What a compelling and emotional journey your family experienced!

    Thank you for sharing this story, and also for your son's dedication to becoming an Army officer by way of West Point.
     
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  10. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    @SR-71 ,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know that your son’s success and your pride in him can’t erase the painful memories. Please know that your story is particularly inspiring to those of us whose families have been here for many generations. It lets us know, despite our imperfections, the promise of America still exists.
     
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  11. April75

    April75 Member

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    My late father was also a Viet Minh, born in Hanoi 1921. He too fought the French, Japanese, and French again. Mom and Dad left Hanoi in 1954 and he served with the ARVN until his retirement in 1973. My oldest brother was 2d Vietnamese Airborne (68-75) and was wounded three times. I couldn’t go near the TV during the series. The pain was just too much for my family. Today, we are proud Americans and my daughter is a member of the USNA Class of ‘21. God bless all those who fought for freedom and God bless America.
     
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  12. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    As the man once said at that time we were soldiers once and young. Good luck to all the sons and daughters. It has been a long time and the memories are in the mist to only come back once in a while.
     
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  13. conrack

    conrack Member

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    The "innocent students" burned down an ROTC building and assaulted both firefighters and police. Burns did a fantastic job of looking at the story in an unbiased fashion, I have thoroughly enjoyed all his documentaries.