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The Vietnam War: WHRO Remembers Those Who Served

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar

The upcoming premiere of Ken Burns’ new documentary, The Vietnam War, has provided a unique opportunity to take a personal look at the stories behind those who went off to war. As we have prepared for the release of this epic documentary, it was important to us to reconnect to these brave veterans, not just as servicemen, but as the vibrant people they were—husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends to those left behind. We’ve done this by finding and sharing their stories.

We’ve found stories like that of Annabelle Driver Hamman, whose husband perished when his helicopter crashed during an extraction. Dallas Driver was 22 years old. The couple met in high school. “He was such a sweet and honest man,” Hamman wrote on a website offering remembrances to veterans. “We got married on May 30, 1969 and had 2 ½ wonderful weeks together before he went to Vietnam. I will always love him. I just wish there was closure because they never found his body, and that still haunts me to this day.”

Dennis Ricker, of Virginia Beach, recalled the loss of his high school buddy, Ronald Ange. “As they were bringing your remains back to Virginia Beach, I was packing my duffle getting ready to head to Vietnam. At your funeral, I cried like a little baby. The next day (on your 19th birthday) I boarded that plane to the other side of the world.”

WHRO shared some of these remembrances at a special preview screening of the new documentary. We also shared displays of graffiti that were recovered from transport ships that carried troops to Vietnam. Through these messages preserved in ink we heard from young servicemen who expressed their hopes and fears through drawings and brief notes.

Just as Burns’ documentary presents a view of the war from multiple perspectives, we wanted to explore the war from different angles as well. In partnership with the Dong Hung Temple in Virginia Beach, we fostered conversations between members of the American and Vietnamese communities. Read about the event.

We are excited about the debut of Burns’ film because the story of the Vietnam War is our story—a critical piece of our history that we want to explore and learn from. We hope you will take the time to tune in for this stunning piece of filmmaking, but we also hope you will take a moment to get to know some of the brave veterans from Virginia who fought in the war. You can find their stories at whro.org/vietnamwar.

About The Film

The Vietnam War is a 10 part, 18-hour documentary that tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. It features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. It also includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe including historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Watch The Documentary on WHRO TV 15

Episodes 1-5  - September 17-21 at 8 p.m.

Episodes 6-10 - September 24-28 at 8 p.m.

You can also stream the first 5 episodes online starting Sept. 17, and the last 5 episodes starting Sept. 24.

Members with WHRO Passport can view the entire series through this service starting September 17.