JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi Public Broadcasting continues to honor Mississippi Vietnam War veterans with an MPB original documentary titled Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience premiering at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 on MPB Television. An encore presentation will air at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11.
More than 58,000 Americans died fighting in Vietnam, including more than 600 Mississippians. The documentary features six Mississippi Vietnam veterans who tell what it was really like fighting in one of America’s most controversial wars.
Those veterans are James Young of Jackson, Charles Brown of Hattiesburg, Rep. Manly Barton of Moss Point, Joseph Pierce of Ocean Springs, Rep. Elton “Mac” Huddleston of Pontotoc and Doyle Whitehead of Gloster.
MPB’s Corey Hart is the producer/director of Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience. MPB’s Art McAlpin and Kathryn Rodenmeyer are associate producers.
“The goal wasn’t to explain the Vietnam War but to give an impression of what Mississippi soldiers went through. This is why I call it Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience,” said Hart. “I hope people watching it will see how harrowing of an experience it was for these veterans and understand how much they deserve our respect, especially since they were generally not given a proper welcome home at that time.”
The veterans talk about their different missions while in Vietnam, how they killed the enemy, how they faced death as well as the lack of fanfare when they returned home.
“People that have never been in the military can't relate to what they went through,” said Pierce, who is featured in the documentary. “The stress level that these young people are going through. When they come back, they are forced to keep it with them because they have nobody to talk to that understands what they're talking about.”
With Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11, the documentary is a perfect opportunity for veterans, non-veterans, families and those of all ages to gain insight on the Vietnam War.
“Part of MPB’s mission is telling Mississippi’s story, past and present, and that’s what Corey and his team have done with this documentary,” said MPB Director of Television John Gibson. “There are a lot of different ways to do historical documentaries, but this is one that simply needed to be told in the voices of those who were there, who served and sacrificed in Vietnam. We’re really grateful that these men were willing to share their sometimes painful memories with us."
Mississippians in Vietnam: A Shared Experience is one of three MPB programs airing in November that cover Vietnam. Southern Remedy episode titled “Healing the Wounds of War” will air immediately following the documentary at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 9 and @ISSUE will air at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10.
For more information regarding MPB, visit www.mpbonline.org.