For those lucky enough to be in the S/E Michigan television market, you will have the opportunity this evening to view the movie “Our Vietnam Generation,” on the local PBS channel. “Our Vietnam Generation,” which was directed and produced by 9-time Emmy Award winner, Keith Famie, and co-produced by Bob Gillette, Chairman of the Board of American House, is scheduled to be shown tonight at 9 p.m.
This film was originally presented at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit, and was attended by a crowd of approximately 3,500 people. The crowd response at the time was overwhelmingly positive, with cheers, tears, and pride erupting from them repeatedly during the performance.
In a recent interview with Lt. Col. Donald ‘Digger” O’Dell (ret), discussing the Fox Theatre performance, he explained he thought the showing on PBS “should be interesting. All of my family and friends and I thought they did a good thing for those guys who came back and were spit upon and belittled.” (Those guys) “carried out doing what their Country said for them to do.”
“My whole family really enjoyed it, along with the Choir and the Band. Famie did a nice job portraying the feeling of Veterans in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, based on the fact that those Veterans were doing what they were told to do. It gave Veterans the opportunity to vent their frustrations, as they didn’t have a choice, and to heal from that.”
O’Dell shares that because of his stay, and that of many others, in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” “We were treated like heros. I am not a hero.”
The conversation then turned to another famous resident of the “Hanoi Hilton,” John McCain. “John’s a great patriot,” continued O’Dell, explaining that they were at the “Hanoi Hilton” at the same time “I give him a lot of credit and I admire him” for his decision to wait his turn in line to be returned home as a POW and saying, “I’ll go when it’s my turn.”
“It would have been easy to have skated out of there,” O’Dell commented. “But he (McCain) stood up and was counted. I admire him very deeply because of that.’
Keith Famie filmed 110 hours of similar stories of many, many Vietnam Veterans, through his Visionalist Entertainment Productions. Bob Gillette, Chairman of the Board of American House, believed in Famie’s vision and helped to provide the funding necessary to accomplish that vision.
The movie shares the lives of these Americans serving their Country by fighting in a foreign war, the atmosphere in the Country at that time when these Veterans returned home, and the way forward allowing us to honor, celebrate and respect these men and women for their service and their sacrifice on behalf of their Country.
For those of you interested in a monumental reward of understanding and respect for our Vietnam Veterans and a great way to spend a short amount of your time, watch “Our Vietnam Generation” at 9pm on PBS in the S/E Michigan television market. You may come away with a whole new perspective. In addition, should you not be in the S/E Michigan television market, look for a showing soon on other PBS stations.