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New OPB Documentary Tells Local Stories of the Vietnam War Era and its Impact Today


“The Vietnam War Oregon Remembers” is available to watch online now; TV premiere followed by panel discussion Monday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. on OPB TV

OPB has produced a new Oregon Experience documentary that provides an intimate look at the Vietnam War through the lens of the local people who lived through it—and who remain deeply affected by the events of those times.

“The Vietnam War Oregon Remembers” is a 90-minute immersive documentary that brings to light widely divergent viewpoints of a volatile time in American and Oregon history—a war that divided the country. The documentary is available to watch online now at opb.org/Vietnam, and will air on OPB TV on Monday, October 2 at 9 p.m. Following the show will be a televised panel discussion with local veterans and others who experienced the Vietnam War moderated by OPB’s Think Out Loud Host Dave Miller.

With more than 120,000 Oregonians serving in the Vietnam War, the program features first-hand accounts from 30 Oregon veterans—men and women—from every branch of the military and in a variety of roles, from medics and battalion photographers to entertainers and fighter pilots.

They tell their stories of being drafted as naïve kids and how they learned to fight and survive in a brutal war. They remember how the “real world” treated them as they returned to the United States—not as heroes but as “baby-killers” and warmongers. Many share their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder before the disorder even had a name, and how they’re dealing with the aftermath of exposure to Agent Orange. 

“The Vietnam War Oregon Remembers” also includes powerful stories from anti-war protestors and grieving family members. It observes the impact of Oregon’s outspoken politicians like Senators Wayne Morse and Mark Hatfield who were early leaders in the national anti-war movement, and includes interviews with refugees who fled their homeland after the war.  Finally, the program highlights various programs and activities strengthening our ties with Vietnam today.

Interviews include:  

  • Carol Brown, Army nurse
  • Dennis Guthrie, Army medic
  • Charlie Haughey, Army battalion photographer
  • Don Janigian, who served in the Navy and whose parents created the first statewide memorial for fallen Vietnam soldiers.
  • Larson Kalama, Army radio operator and Warm Springs Native American who started a “Healing Circle” for all veterans and family members.
  • Donna Lowery, from the Womens Army Corps and part of the first WAC detachment deployed to a combat zone since World War II.
  • Karl Marlantes, a Marine, Rhodes scholar and nationally known author.
  • Alison Perry, a therapist and founder of Central Oregon Veterans Ranch
  • Gwen Hall Davis, Sister of Blue Angels’ Commander Harley Hall, who was shot down on the final day of Vietnam combat operation.
  • Floyd McKay, an Author and Journalist
  • Gerry Frank, a  longtime aide to Senator Mark Hatfield
  • David A. Horowitz, a Portland State University Professor and anti-war activist

Concurrent to the documentary, an online presentation at opb.org/Vietnam features additional local stories and OPB reporting related to the Vietnam War, photo slideshows, videos, resources for veterans and more.

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