PBS programs commemorate the end of the Vietnam War
PENSACOLA, Fla., April 24, 2015—Next week, WSRE will air two nights of PBS programs commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. “The Draft” and “Dick Cavett’s Vietnam” air Monday, April 27, starting at 8 p.m. “The Day the ’60s Died” is followed by the Academy Award nominated documentary “Last Days in Vietnam” on Tuesday, April 28, beginning at 7 p.m.
“The Draft” looks at how the single, controversial issue of forced military service has continued to define America from the Civil War to the Vietnam conflicts—at times, tearing the nation apart and at other times, uniting Americans in a common purpose.
“Dick Cavett’s Vietnam” examines the Vietnam War and its impact on America through the prism of interviews conducted by the iconic host of “The Dick Cavett Show,” which featured thoughtful conversation and debate from all sides of the political spectrum.
“The Day the ’60s Died” reflects on the May 1970 protest event at Kent State when four students were shot and the mayhem that followed. The documentary details experiences of those at the heart of the conflict, including students and National Guard troops at Kent State, U.S. soldiers in Cambodia and survivors of another shooting that occurred at Jackson State in Mississippi.
In March, WSRE held a preview screening of “Last Days in Vietnam” with a number of local Vietnam War veterans in attendance. Tuesday’s 8 p.m. broadcast, presented by American Experience, marks the national television premiere of the acclaimed documentary.
“Last Days in Vietnam” chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. With a communist victory inevitable and the U.S. readying to withdraw, a number of heroic Americans took matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese as possible.
Rory Kennedy, producer and director of “Last Days in Vietnam” will speak at the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio on May 19 at 7 p.m. as part of the station’s new Public Square Speakers Series. Visit wsre.org/speakers to learn more.
In another Vietnam-related project, WSRE is collecting Vietnam War stories online at wsre.org/vietnamstories as a platform for local veterans, Vietnamese-Americans and their families to share their experiences and as part of a local WSRE documentary production planned in concurrence with the 2017 premiere of “The Vietnam War,” a documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for PBS.
Photo Note: An image from “Last Days in Vietnam,” courtesy of Craig Compiano/USS KIRK Association.
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