In Country: A Vietnam Story
In Country: A Vietnam Story, tells two emotional stories; separate yet intertwined of a group of African American veterans who return to Vietnam.
Friends of Danang Emotional Return to Vietnam to Air On Emmy-Award-Winning WQED tv13 in High Definition
PITTSBURGH -- The 16-year-long Vietnam War was the longest-running conflict in U.S. military history. Though it has been more than three decades since the end of one of the most divisive wars in human history, there is a group of Americans – mostly Pittsburghers - making regular pilgrimages to Vietnam with the hopes of healing at least some of the old wounds. They call themselves the Friends of Danang. They are veterans of that war and their work goes beyond mere messages of reconciliation.
The story of one trip back for this group will be told in WQED’s production of
In Country: A Vietnam Story, which will air on WQED tv13 on Thursday, November 9, 2006 at 10:00 p.m. The program will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) format.
Many of the Americans who served their country in Vietnam are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, bosses, patients, senators and co-workers. For men and women of a certain age, it is the galvanizing experience that binds them together. WQED Multimedia’s Chris Moore is one of those people. The Emmy-Award-winning producer and program host has kept a close kinship with Sergeant LeRoy Perry of Wilmington, North Carolina and Specialist 5th Class Andrew Boone of Chicago. Together, the three shared the life-changing experiences of that war and together they return to South Vietnam for the first time since being discharged more than 35 years ago.
As an hour-long documentary, In Country: A Vietnam Story, tells two emotional stories; separate yet intertwined. There are the “Friends” themselves, the men and women who travel to and from Vietnam on a bi-annual basis, devoting their energies and talents to building an elementary school for the children of Danang. Their current reconciliation efforts are devoted to providing prosthetic and orthopedic rehabilitation services for children still being maimed by abandoned ordinance from the conflict, as well as funding the construction of a second school.
Then there’s Chris Moore, who has long given top priority to improving the public’s perception of Vietnam vets and their causes. Moore and his two friends, Boone and Perry, were three young black men barely out of their 20s, when they served. Though they were from different states, they gravitated to each other, the two older men taking Moore under their collective wing. Their stories are filled with the youthful antics and laughs that come easily to boys who have only recently become men. But their stories are also filled with moments of sheer terror, and the plain truth that their lives could end at any moment.
"To me, this trip is about returning to that land a little unsure of what we will find,” says Moore, “and we’re hoping to mend the physical wounds and those that are in my heart. If I had to live my life over, I would go to Vietnam again, even if I were unsure of the outcome,” he added, “because it is about the people you meet…the friends you become by serving together and sharing a bond. It seems like yesterday but it also seems so long ago."
Co-Producer Minette Seate kept an online journal of the trip to Vietnam in which she shares her eye-opening experiences on the ten-day trip to produce the program. Seate describes everything she saw and felt: the incredible heat, the cultural dress, the capitalism in a communist country, the traffic of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the visit to the war museum, the beautiful countryside, and the friendly and welcoming people of Vietnam. The entire journal can be accessed on WQED’s web site at www.wqed.org
About Friends of Danang
The Friends of Danang is a humanitarian organization headquartered in Pittsburgh. The volunteer organization raises money for humanitarian projects in and around the city of Danang, Vietnam. Its aim is to nurture better understanding between the citizens of Pittsburgh and Danang regions. Their mission is accomplished by building schools and a medical clinic in partnership with nonprofit organizations such as the Vietnam Children’s Fund and East Meets West Foundation. The Friends of Danang has joined World Vision International in a program to provide orthotic and prosthetic rehabilitation services for children. The hope is to provide through these initiatives an opportunity for those touched by the war in Vietnam to contribute acts of human healing regardless of their personal reasons for giving. One hundred percent of all contributions are applied to the cost of the projects.
Friends of Danang founder Tony Accamando organized the trip. He has a long and distinguished record of humanitarian service, particularly to veterans. After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam, he founded two organizations to help others affected by the war: Veterans’ Cable Services, which hires and trains only veterans, and Friends of Danang. Accamando is also a board member of the Vietnam Veteran Leadership Program.
About This High-Definition Television Program
In Country: A Vietnam Story was shot in high-definition television, which fully captures the richness of the lush scenery, the frenetic pace of the city, and the warmth of the people. High-definition television (HDTV) is a broadcasting system with a significantly higher resolution than traditional formats. HDTV offers a more lifelike picture and digital sound quality and more than double the resolution compared to analog televisions for superior picture quality.
In Country: A Vietnam Story was funded by UPMC.
How to Buy the DVD
A DVD of the program is available for $19.95 plus shipping and handling through Shop WQED at www.wqed.org or by calling 1-800-274-1307.
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