Show gives veterans voice, increases understanding:

Students, faculty and staff attend a special screening of the documentary.

By Donovan Ortiz:

Panhandle PBS is exploring area residents’ memories of the Vietnam War era in conjunction with airing the documentary “The Vietnam War” and the Texas Panhandle Vietnam War Project, a community wide effort working to give local veterans a voice and boost understanding of the war.

“We love partnerships and we love collaborations and I think as a community we’re only stronger when we work together,” Cullen Lutz, community development coordinator, said. “Since so many different organizations in our community have different specialties to involve in this project, it allows us to come together and explore this topic in so many ways.”

Panhandle PBS has conducted interviews with veterans that will air during the show “Live Here.” These segments along with the national documentary may offer a message of closure to some of the veterans, PPBS employees said.

“For many years it was kind of a war people didn’t talk about because the hard feelings were there,” Karen Welch, producer of the local segments, said. “We are trying to restart conversation about the Vietnam War, trying to help people come together and understand the war in all perspectives.”

Panhandle PBS offered a sneak peak of the local interviews and the documentary in their studio Sept. 14. Faculty, staff and students were present to experience what has become a nightly narrative as the 10-part documentary airs.

Six years in the making, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tell the story of a war from many angles that show the impact of a long period of conflict. The film includes rarely seen archival footage, features interviews with nearly 80 witnesses and includes photographs from some of the celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century.

The efforts being made by Panhandle PBS and local organizations are intended to bring back the discussion about the Vietnam War. The projects are presenting a platform for many residents to speak and share memories.

Chris Key, a mass media major, said his father served in Vietnam. “It’ll be a good thing that my dad views the documentary,” Key said. “I feel he can open about some of his history when he served in the army.”

The documentary began on Sept. 17 and will run through Sept. 28. Episodes can be viewed online at

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