Seventy-Four Public Media Stations in 37 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico Host Conversations on "The Vietnam War"

Aug. 4, 2017

CPB-supported Documentary Series to Premiere in September

Minnesota Remembers Vietnam

Minnesota Remembers Vietnam - The Telling Project cast and crew from left: Kang Vang (Filmmaker), Mary Beth Crowley (Army nurse), Dr. Max Rayneard (The Telling Project Senior Writer/ Producer), Kenneth Plant (Marine Corps Correspondent), Jonathan Wei (The Telling Project Founder, Executive Director), Ray Wilson (Army pilot), and Kenneth Sholes (Navy cook). Credit: TPT

Over 18 immersive hours, directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told on film, with firsthand accounts from nearly 80 witnesses including Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians.

In addition to the film, CPB supported grants to 74 public media stations across the country to partner with local libraries, theaters, veterans service organizations, schools and other local organizations to explore the war’s lasting impact. Through screenings of “The Vietnam War” documentary, panel discussions and other events, these stations and partners are inviting the public to share personal stories and photos of veterans and affected family members, and hosting programs to honor those who served. 

“The Vietnam War,” is a 10-part documentary film series that premieres 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. (EST) on September 17, 2017 on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).

The film includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

“Ken and I made 'The Vietnam War' so that we could better understand what happened in the war, but also to hopefully open up a conversation about the war that we as a country have kept at a distance for many decades," Lynn Novick said. "Through screening events, local programming, education initiatives, and conferences that have brought veterans and Vietnamese American communities together, stations are helping us fulfill this vision in a powerful way that only public media can do. They are providing a space for these groups to connect and have a dialogue about issues that are often difficult to address, but are worthy of examination.”

The Vietnam War: An Extended Look, PBS. Florentine Films

On the ground, public media stations are focused on their community’s historical connection to the war. For example, given the large Hmong population in Minnesota, Twin Cities Public Television’s upcoming hour-long documentary, The Secret War, will share the history of the CIA’s Secret War in Laos, as well as the refugee camp and resettlement experience through the personal reflections of local Hmong veterans.

Twin Cities Public Television is also working with The Telling Project, a national arts organization that employs theater to deepen understanding of veterans’ experiences. As they create Telling: Minnesota’s Vietnam, a play in which a small group of Minnesota Vietnam veterans share their stories, TPT will produce an original documentary that follows the process of creating, rehearsing and performing the play, as well as the reactions of participating veterans, their families and audience members.

"We’ve heard from veterans in our community that now is the time to share and now is the time to listen," said Katie Carpenter, Project Lead for Minnesota Remembers Vietnam at TPT.  Minnesotans share their personal memories on TPT’s digital story wall through videos, narratives, snapshots, and interviews of those who fought in Vietnam and those whose lives it changed at home. 

Minnesota Veterans Stories. Credit: TPT, Local engagement for The Vietnam War by Ken Burns
Twin Cities PBS producer, Luke Heikkila, on set with Angie Tuccitto, listening to audio “letters" that her father, Vietnam veteran Tom Tuccitoo, sent home while he was serving in the Vietnam War. Credit: TPT

Other examples of station work include:

Conway, Ark. On July 5, Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) taped the first of several "Veterans Listening Tours" with Senator John Boozman, who serves on the U.S. Veterans Affairs Committee. Fifteen Vietnam War veterans participated in a two-hour roundtable discussion where AETN recorded their oral histories for inclusion in the national "Story Share" page for the national film.  

Veteran's Listening Tour with Arkansas's senior senator John Boozman with 15 Vietnam War veterans hosted by AETN for The Vietnam War
Veteran's Listening Tour with Arkansas's senior senator John Boozman (center) with 15 Vietnam War veterans from throughout central Arkansas. Credit: AETN

“From workshops in Northeast Arkansas where families learn to collect oral histories, to museums in Little Rock hosting artifacts and screening events, to a garage in the western regions of our state where quilts for veterans are being created – we are listening and providing a safe place for deeply personal and diverse stories to be told,” said Courtney Pledger, Executive Director of AETN.

Tucson, Ariz. Arizona Public Media is hosting “Record Your Story” sessions and will produce a one-hour documentary about how the Vietnam War and its aftermath shaped Southern Arizona. Scheduled sessions are September 9 in SaddleBrooke, September 11 at University of Arizona, September 12 in Green Valley, September 14 at the Pima Air and Space Museum and more to follow.

University Park, Pa. WPSU is exploring the impact of war on Pennsylvanians through a cross-platform media and engagement project called “A Time To Heal.” Events on the Penn State University campus and throughout the region provide opportunities for conversation, reflection, and healing, culminating with The Traveling Wall installment in Innovation Park at Penn State October 5–8, 2017.

Knoxville, Tenn. The East Tennessee History Center, the region’s primary archival and historic research institution, is East Tennessee PBS’ partner for community discussions, screenings of local interviews and call-outs to the community for Vietnam War artifacts. 

Houston, Texas. Houston Public Media’s “Town Hall: The Vietnam War” will feature veterans, Vietnamese immigrants, and veteran and refugee organizations with a live studio audience and call-in participation.

Moline, Ill. For over 20 years, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has traveled to communities throughout the United States to spread the memorial’s healing legacy. WQPT/Quad Cities PBS hosted The Wall That Heals in Moline July 27-30. The exhibit included a Military Kids Day with educational activities, screenings of “The Vietnam War” previews and “On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam,” and a Veterans History Project Day inviting veterans to share their stories.

Kansas City, Mo. KCPT will lead a community-wide “Big Read” of Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” in partnership with the library systems in the Kansas City area. The campaign will kick off with a screening and discussion with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on September 8 at The Midland theater.

Vermillion, S.D. South Dakota Public Broadcasting is interviewing local veterans, authors, protestors, artists, and others to feature on their series “Dakota Life”, including Vietnam War artist/veteran James Pollack and native elder/Vietnam Veteran Frances Whitebird. The station is working with the state’s 56 County Veterans Services Offices and six Tribal Veterans Services Offices to provide screening and discussion kits.

As part of this broad multimedia and engagement effort, educational resources for the film are also available at PBS LearningMedia. This vast collection of videos, lesson plans and discussion guides help teachers and students explore the social and political dynamics of the Vietnam War, its legacy and lasting toll on veterans. The tools help students examine why, how, and by whom the Vietnam War was fought, how it affected U.S. citizens at home, and how factors shifted over the course of the war.

Participating Stations

AETN – Conway, AR

Alaska Public Media – Anchorage, AK

Arizona Public Media – Tucson, AZ

CPT12 – Denver, CO

DPTV – Detroit, MI

East Tennessee PBS – Knoxville, TN

GPB – Atlanta, GA

KUHT Houston PBS – Houston, TX

WCVE Ideastation – Richmond, VA

Ideastream – Cleveland, OH

KAET – Phoenix, AZ

KCPT–  Kansas City, MO

KCTS – Seattle, WA

KERA – Dallas, TX

KIXE – Redding, CA

KLRN – San Antonio, TX

KLRU – Austin, TX

KMOS – Warrensburg, MO

KPBS – San Diego, CA

KQED – San Francisco, CA

KSPS – Spokane, WA

KTTZ – Lubbock, TX

KTWU – Topeka, KS

KUED – Salt Lake City, UT

KVIE – Sacramento, CA

Louisiana Public Broadcasting

Maine Public

Milwaukee PBS – Milwaukee, WI

Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Maryland Public Television

Nashville Public Television

Nebraska Educational Television – Lincoln, NE

New Hampshire Public Television

New Mexico PBS

Nine Network –  St Louis, MO

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Panhandle PBS – Amarillo, TX

PBA – Atlanta, GA

PBS SoCal – Los Angeles, CA

Pioneer Public Television –  Appleton, MN

Prairie Public – Fargo, ND

Sistema/WMTJMTJ –  Puerto Rico

SOPTV – Medford, Oregon

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

ThinkTV – Dayton, OH

Twin Cities Public Television

UNC-TV – North Carolina

ValleyPBS – Fresno, CA


WCMU – Mt Pleasant, MI

WCNY – Syracuse, NY

WCTE – Upper Cumberland, TN

WEDU – Tampa, FL

WETA – Washington, DC

WFSU – Tallahassee, FL

WGBH – Boston, MA

WGBY – Springfield, MA

WGCU – Fort Myers, FL

WGVU – Grand Rapids, MI

WHRO – Norfolk, VA

WHYY–  Philadelphia, PA

WITF – Harrisburg, PA

WJCT – Jacksonville, FL

WMHT – Troy, NY

WPSU – University Park, PA

Wisconsin Public Television

WQED –  Pittsburgh, PA

WQPT –  Moline, IL

WSRE –  Pensacola, FL

WTTW –  Chicago, IL

WTVI –  Charlotte, NC

WUCF –  Orlando, FL

WVPT –  Harrisonburg, VA

WXXI – Rochester, NY

Visit the interactive website to learn more about “The Vietnam War” national broadcast.

THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C.  Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  Written by Geoffrey C. Ward.  Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns. Station engagement activities are supported by WETA, Washington D.C.