As a way to honor veterans and their families, the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain’s Johnson Learning Commons hosted the screening of The Vietnam War on Monday, September 11th. At the request of Chancellor Phillip Wilson, the Ouachita Center was selected to hold a screening of the upcoming PBS documentary film series. Thanking those who have served in the military by public recognition, Dr. Wilson also held a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11.
Airing on AETN, beginning on Sunday, September 17, the series was 10 years in the making and is directed by award-winning Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told on film. It features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including the Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both sides. Attendees were able to watch an excerpt from each of the ten episodes.
As the preview depicted the different aspects of the Vietnam Conflict, many of the attendees vividly remembered the events, and their comments reflected the emotions and attitudes of the time. At the conclusion of the screening, guests had the opportunity to share their story and those written comments will be posted on the Johnson Learning Commons’ Facebook page. A few of the comments included:
“It was powerful!” “Every day in school for current events, we talked about Vietnam and the war. I couldn’t stop watching. 1975—I watched the fall of Saigon on TV. So sad!” “I didn’t serve. Thank you vets!”
Additionally, the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is encouraging the collection of stories from those who experienced the events of the Vietnam War using the hashtag #VietnamStoriesPBS or the “Share Your Story” tool at http://www.aetn.org/thevietnamwar. Likewise, AETN is helping to collect missing photos for the Wall of Faces for the more than 150 Arkansans killed in action in the Vietnam War. A complete list of names and instructions are available at http://www.vvmf.org/.