MATURE SUBJECT MATTER, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: WEDU is honored to present the personal Vietnam War experiences of our local citizens. The stories presented here have not been edited and are presented as originally shared by the author. The content may contain coarse language, images, or remembrances that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Ben K.’s Story
Shared on September 15, 2017
Although too young to serve at the time my Father was in the Air Force and I was raised on military bases. It was not unusual to find out your friends Dad died in Vietnam and they had to move off base.
In 1968 my Brother entered the US Army and spent 13 months in Vietnam so I was no stranger to having family there. Around the same time my older sister dated a fellow who was in the Air Force and I remember he used to come over to the house for dinner to spend time with her and my family. He never came back from Vietnam. We never spoke about it.
In 1972 I was in High School and Richard Nixon was President. As I remember it, he was trying to get us out of Vietnam and our High School allowed us to march down our main street in support. Even at that age I knew that if you go to war you go to win not like what we were doing.
In 1974 the war was technically over although we still had troops supporting the South Vietnam Army (ARVN) and I joined the US Army to do my part. Our Drill Instructors told us that there was a chance we could go back to Vietnam but that never happened. All of them had been there and were were tough battle hardened Infantry veterans and they knew that we should take or training serious.
Although we I never went to Vietnam myself it affected me greatly and guided my character, my thought process, and my politics to this day.
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Production Credits: THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.
Funding Credits: Funding provided by: Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H. Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society: Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, Diane & Hal Brierley, Amy & David Abrams, John & Catherine Debs, Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, The Montrone Family, Lynda & Stewart Resnick, The Golkin Family Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, The Roger & Rosemary Enrico Foundation, Richard S. & Donna L. Strong Foundation, Bonnie & Tom McCloskey, Barbara K. & Cyrus B. Sweet III, The Lavender Butterfly Fund