We spent last Sunday afternoon in Santa Rosa at a private screening, for friends and supporters, of a powerful documentary made by our friends Ken and Betty Rodgers. It's about the 26th Marine Regiment, Bravo Company and the Siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam in 1968. It is an incredible story told by those who lived it, survived it and are sharing the experience in their own words. The title is:
"Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor"
For a link to the project blog and trailers please go to http://bravotheproject.com/
After the screening, eight of us gathered for dinner at a Thai restaurant on lower 4th St. called Khoom Lanna, a short walk from the 6th Street Playhouse. As Betty and I looked around the table we realized this group of friends, old and new, from all walks of life had been drawn together by a common thread, our late friends Vince and Trisha Pedroia. We could only smile at the synchronicity of that moment and the serendipitous chain of events that brought this film from an idea to a realized dream. There be magic afoot.
The opening of a dialogue
After my husband Rod and I got home we started talking about Vietnam. I was a college student in my early twenties and pretty much out of touch with the realities of the war, perhaps by naiveté or by choice I don't remember. Rod had tried to enlist several times, but because of a medical condition was turned down.
We all need to think about the cause, effect and consequences for the generation, our generation, who was in the middle of it. I believe the film will provide new understanding and long overdue healing: for those who lived through it, for those who kept the home fires burning, for those who protested it, and for those too young to understand it.
The Vietnam War tore this country apart. No matter what your opinion was, it's now time to open your hearts and minds to the men and woman who did what their government asked of them. One of the terrible things about the Vietnam War was that our returning soldiers were not treated as heroes as are today's veterans, but as pariahs, spat upon and called baby killers. I hate the concept of war but I will always support the men and women who serve.
Unfortunately history continues to repeat itself and the same mistakes are made over and over again: A government of old men sends children to war and then looks the other way at the pathetic care provided for veterans and their families. The Ship of State following its Train of Thought over a cliff.
It's time for a sea change, a transformation of our thinking as human beings. Perhaps today’s young men and women can get it right and find another solution to the unending cycles of war that seem to stalk each generation.