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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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George Bush Library presents Vietnam documentary for veterans

Post-viewing+panel+holds+discussion+after+the+showing+of+We+Cant+Forget+Vietnam+in+the+George+Bush+Presidential+Library+Thursday+night.+Left+to+Right%3A%26%23160%3Bretired+Lt.+Gen.+Randolph+House%2C+retired+Lt.+Gen.+Paul+Funk%2C+and+Vietnam+War+correspondent+Joe+Galloway
Photo by By Savannah Mehrtens

Post-viewing panel holds discussion after the showing of “We Can’t Forget Vietnam” in the George Bush Presidential Library Thursday night. Left to Right: retired Lt. Gen. Randolph House, retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, and Vietnam War correspondent Joe Galloway

As time continues to pass by and the years continue to separate today from the Vietnam war, veterans and their family will never fail to remember how those years of battle changed their lives.

The KWTX news 10 documentary “We Can’t Forget Vietnam” and post-viewing panel was presented by KBTX-TV and the George Bush Presidential Library on Feb. 9. Students, and veterans from the Brazos Valley attended with their families and friends to view the one hour long video presentation of personal testimonies.

Mike Wright, Vice President and general manager of KWTX 10 and KBTX 3, said editors Jim Peeler and Don Smith took months to gather the story of Vietnam War Veterans through deeply personal interviews.

“This is a documentary that the KWTX news had wanted to do for a many number of years,” Wright said. “The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War seemed to be an appropriate time to address what otherwise is a controversial chapter in America’s history.”

The Lone Star Emmy award-winning documentary showing was a way to bring to light the raw truth to civilians and veterans alike, according to Wright.

“I think there is a generation coming up that won’t know anything about the Vietnam War, and as these veterans get older they won’t be with us forever,” Wright said. “This was just a way to bring it all together to let them tell their story, unfiltered as to what they went through. The emotions are just as raw today as they were there.”

The event was not only about education, but also about raising awareness and providing a sense of community for those who continue to suffer from the effects of the Vietnam War. David Anaya, director of marketing and communications for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum said he felt the event honored those who served.

“It’s very important to the veterans to have these programs to remember their sacrifices, to remember their bravery, to remember their outstanding duty to our country,” Anaya said.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs posted this documentary to their website for a short time in an effort to help those coping with mental health after wartime experiences. Seeing images of the war can easily still bring about emotional distress, as Purple Heart awarded Marine Lewis Newman said.

“It’s a mixed emotion,” Newman said. “There’s concern about the war, and the people, the friends we lost. On the other hand, it’s great to see that there’s interest.”

As the documentary highlights, coming back from the war in the 1960s and 1970s was not a welcoming experience for many veterans.  Jeff Landskroener, a Vietnam Veteran who served 13 months in Vietnam and Thailand, recalled what it felt like to come back home and why it is important to remember the war now.

“For so many years we didn’t look at it, we stayed within ourselves,” Landskroener said. “It’s just been recently in these last few years that I’ve gotten out and started getting involved. In the 60s and 70s we weren’t greeted here very warmly. For so long we were kind of like a tick on a dog, we weren’t welcome.”

The panel afterwards included retired Lit. Gen. Randolph House, retired Lit. Gen. Paul Funk, and Vietnam War correspondent Joe Galloway. They discussed their thoughts on the documentary and their personal memories of the war.

“Nobody wants any pity,” Funk said. “What they want is dignity and respect. They didn’t go to Canada; the cowards went there. They didn’t riot in the streets, as some of these guys pointed out. They did their duty.”

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