March 26, 2000
Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Whether you were alive during that time or have learned about it since, we'd like to hear your answer to the following: What did that era - the war, the protests, the changes both brought about - teach you about America, its people and its values? Send essays of about 300 words to Community Voices/Vietnam, The Inquirer, Box 41705, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. Send faxes to 215-854-4483 and e-mail to inquirer.
August 25, 1991 |
In the years since the end of the Vietnam War, movies on the conflict have divided neatly between the peacetime experiences of returning veterans and more traditional depictions of soldiers in combat. Cinematically, the difference between Vietnam and our previous wars was that the order was reversed. Because of the lingering, bitter controversy over Vietnam, the films about veterans preceded the movies dealing with the war itself. A new film to be added to the growing and generally distinguished ranks of Vietnam movies will fuse these elements in a fresh way. In movies such as The Deer Hunter, we have seen combinations of war and peace, but Missing in America takes a new tack.
April 24, 1991 |
We have been told repeatedly in recent weeks that the ghosts of Vietnam have been laid to rest in the Persian Gulf. But I still hear them in the night, and I bet I'm not alone. In 1968, when I was 12 years old, I was injured and then saved by American soldiers during a battle in my village south of Da Nang. My father was beaten to death by South Vietnamese soldiers as he demonstrated outside an American base against the bombing and shelling of our village. A few months later my mother and grandmother were killed when a GI threw a grenade into our bomb shelter; the grenade severed my esophagus.
May 18, 1989 |
After many years of pointed neglect, the Vietnam War has become a fit subject for the entertainment merchants. Although most movies and TV shows have maintained a high-minded gloss, one wonders how long it will be until that period is so distant, or cliched, that it can admit its own Hogan's Heroes or McHale's Navy. If that day ever comes, every viewer in the country should first be given a chance to see an unassuming but powerful little video called Kindred Men of a Dark War (28 minutes, $24.95)
April 1, 1988 |
Some people may feel they don't want to see even one more film about the Vietnam War. They should make an exception for "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam," an exceptional Home Box Office film that premieres on HBO at 9 p.m. Sunday. The movie consists of real letters that were written to loved ones and friends by men and women stationed in Vietnam during America's long, ruinous war. Actors and actresses - including Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Elizabeth McGovern and Sean Penn - read the letters on the soundtrack over footage of life in the field, some of it taken by the GIs themselves.
August 22, 1988 |
If it's not too late, the Republicans ought to add another plank to their party platform. It should read something like this: "We believe in a strong military and are dedicated to stopping the spread of communism. We believe that if the circumstances become sufficiently grave, we should commit troops to this purpose, as we did in Grenada. "However, there should be certain exceptions. "We do not believe the son of a rich and prominent Republican should be required to take part in such dangerous military activities if he doesn't want to. " That would be appropriate, based on what I'm hearing Republicans saying about J. Danforth Quayle.
October 19, 1986 |
Although American involvement in Vietnam ended in March 1973, a symposium Tuesday night at Delaware County Community College demonstrated that the issues of the war still burn strong for many veterans. About 80 people, many of whom served in Vietnam, attended the session, called "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Vietnam But Were Afraid To Ask. " It was sponsored by Delaware County's Chapter 67 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. In an intense four-hour session, a six-member panel gave personal recollections of the Southeast Asian conflict and then fielded questions on such topics as veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and Agent Orange.
June 26, 1987 |
"Full Metal Jacket," a drama starring Matthew Modine, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Ermey and Arliss Howard. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford. Running time: 115 minutes. A Warner Brothers release. At area theaters. 'Full Metal Jacket," Stanley Kubrick's new Vietnam picture, steps into the box with two strikes against it precisely because it is Stanley Kubrick's new Vietnam picture. Through no fault of his own, Kubrick was beat to the Vietnam punch by "Platoon.
July 23, 1999 |
On her 24th birthday Barbara Sonneborn learned of the death of her husband, Jeff Gurwitz, in Vietnam. It was 1968. She grieved, she soldiered on, she remarried. She enjoyed a successful career as an artist and set designer. But 20 years later, the unanswered questions nagged with increasing urgency and volume. Why did Jeff die? And for what? Now 30 years later, Regret to Inform, Sonneborn's poignant and profound chronicle, airs those questions, considers them, and gives them a proper, if belated, burial.