Vietnam | Texas Public Radio

Vietnam

In the Vietnam War era, Americans became more interested in recovering missing troops -- largely because of the activism of some military families.

As Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” documentary wraps up, we look at those memories, lessons learned and lost, and Afghanistan right now.

The well-equipped medevac helicopters that transported injured troops in Vietnam became the model for today's air ambulance services in the U.S.

Hu Totya (CC BY-SA 4.0) / Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/2k2vGrE

The Vietnam War is one of the most contentious foreign conflicts in U.S. history, dominating the American consciousness in the 1960s and early 70s.

Directors Lynn Novick (@LynnNovick) and Ken Burns (@KenBurns) tell Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd about the effort it took to produce their 18-hour documentary about the Vietnam War that con

When filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick began research for a 10-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War, they thought they knew the material. After all, Burns was of draft age in 1970, though his draft number was too high for him to be called to serve.

But as they began interviewing subjects and sorting through archival footage, Burns and Novick soon came to appreciate just how complicated the war was. "We went in, both of us, with this kind of arrogance about it, and immediately had that blown out of the water," Burns says. "We realized we knew nothing."

The ten-part documentary by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is at times graphic, and people who work with veterans say it may trigger traumatic memories for those who fought in Vietnam.

Ken Burns became a star on PBS a generation ago by telling the story of the Civil War in a huge — and hugely popular — documentary series. Since then, he and his collaborators have done invaluable work, including a lengthy and superb examination of World War II.

The Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, but it continues to claim military lives. Nearly every spring new names are etched into the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which pays tribute to the more than 58,000 service members who lost their lives.

When President Obama lifted the ban on U.S. weapons sales to Vietnam, he invoked one of his favorite themes — relics of the Cold War.

"This change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War," Obama said Monday in the capital, Hanoi.

He sounded a lot like the president who made a groundbreaking visit to Cuba in March:

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