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march/april 2008

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On February 13, Vietnam Veterans of America joined the National Geographic Society in hosting the world premiere screening of “Inside the Vietnam War.” The reception and screening preceded the February 18 release of the three-hour documentary on the National Geographic Channel.

Three hundred people—primarily VVA members—attended the lavish reception at National Geographic’s headquarters in downtown Washington. Afterward, attendees gathered in the auditorium to see a 75-minute version of the film, which featured a stunning variety of archival footage by both Western news media and North Vietnamese military photographers.

A standard retelling of the history of the Vietnam War was interspersed with interviews with the men and women who fought in that war. In the film’s full version, fifty veterans describe their experiences and personal histories. The point, executive producer Jonathan Towers said, was to concentrate not on politicians and generals, but to tell the stories of a broad spectrum of ordinary Americans who were drawn into the conflict.

Afterward, Towers joined VVA president John Rowan; Duery Felton, the Vietnam veteran who curates the collection of things left at The Wall; VVA Chapter 126’s Vince McGowan, the hero of Bing West’s book, The Village; ex-POW Paul Galanti; veterans Frank Marshall and Kimo Williams, who appear in the film; and Terry Moran of ABC News in a panel discussion.

 

 

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