WSRE will present a special preview screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary “Last Days in Vietnam” on Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio. Admission is free. RSVP is requested but not required. “Last Days in Vietnam” will anchor a special week of PBS programming related to the Vietnam War beginning April 27. Directed by Rory Kennedy and airing in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the film will premiere on PBS as an AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presentation on Tuesday, April 28 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WSRE. Also, Kennedy is scheduled to speak as part of the WSRE Public Square Speakers Series on Tuesday, May 19.
“Last Days in Vietnam” chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon and South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the few U.S. diplomats and military operatives still in the country contemplated withdrawal. With the lives of thousands of South Vietnamese hanging in the balance, those in control faced an impossible choice––who would go and who would be left behind to face brutality, imprisonment or even death.
With the clock ticking and the city under fire, American officers on the ground found themselves faced with a moral dilemma: whether to follow official policy and evacuate U.S. citizens and their dependents only, or to ignore their orders and save the Vietnamese men, women and children they had come to value and love in their years in Vietnam. At the risk of their careers and possible courts-martial, a handful of individuals took matters into their own hands. Engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations, they waged a desperate effort to evacuate as many South Vietnamese as possible.
In conjunction with this event and future projects documenting Vietnam War memories, including a locally produced documentary and a PBS documentary film series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick to be released in 2016, WSRE is inviting Vietnamese Americans, veterans and their families to share their experiences. Stories can be submitted online at wsre.org/vietnamstories and will be made available to the public, pending station approval.
Directions: WSRE is located on the Pensacola State College campus (building 23) at 1000 College Blvd. in Pensacola. The station sits at the corner of 12th Ave. and College Blvd. Parking for the Amos Studio is located at the west end of the station, off College Blvd. near the PSC Hartsell Arena and pool.