Vietnam War Documentary Triggers Pains From The Past

Thursday, September 21st 2017, 6:45 pm
By: Karl Torp

A much-heralded, 10-part documentary on the Vietnam War began airing earlier this week.

Those helping Vietnam veterans cope with what they lived through are now preparing for the emotions the film could trigger.

“My first 24 hours in Vietnam was horrendous,” says former Marine Dwight Farmer, who served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.

The day he arrived in Vietnam the Marine next to him on the truck ride down to camp was taken out by a sniper.

“His blood, his brains were on me,” Farmer said.

Pain from the past is now being relived in the documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

“I watch it to judge it,” says Farmer. “It brings back things that I saw personally when I was there.”

Farmer admits, unlike Hollywood movies on the Vietnam war, there's not much to criticize in the PBS documentary.

“It may re-trigger some of their experiences,” says Oklahoma City Vet Center Director J.B. Hall.

Hall hopes the film spotlights the need for veteran counselling and serves as an invitation to come in through the door.

“When they come in here, we understand,” says Hall, about his staff that includes many military veterans.

Farmer has been coming the OKC Vet Center for 15 years.

“The burden that I'd been carrying was lifted,” says Farmer, about the one-on-one and group counseling sessions he takes part in. “This place, in my estimation, saved my life.”

The OKC Vet Center is located at 6804 N. Robinson. 5,000 veterans come through its doors each year.