From 1971 to 1975 I lived on the island of Puerto Rico. As my father was an employee of the Federal Government, my siblings and I attended school on a military base. I went to Antilles Middle School on Fort Buchanan from third to seventh grade. I remember two things most clearly from this time. First, our classrooms were WWII era barracks and secondly, every couple of months the entire school was sent down the hill to cheer on various military leaders who were coming in by chopper. On a couple of occasions, we were told that we were cheering for Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland, the former Commander of US Military Operations in Vietnam. Viet Nam was something that I was aware of as a young boy, as I was a voracious reader of newspapers (because they were in English) and magazines. The only time I heard my father, a WWII and Korean conflict veteran, mention it was in the context of him moving his family to Canada if they drafted his sons. Not that any of us were anywhere near draft age, but it gives you a sense of the feeling that the war would never end. Certain images from the front pages of newspapers of that time are burned in my memory, including the image of the rooftop helicopter evacuation of Americans from Saigon. That evacuation is the focus of "Last Days in Vietnam", a new documentary by Rory Kennedy. With archival footage, newly released recordings and interviews with pilots, evacuees, and those left behind, Kennedy tells the gripping tale of the men who did their damnedest to uphold American honor and personal responsibility. This is the story of how they dealt with the "terrible, terrible moral dilemma" (as said by one of the interviewees) of deciding who to evacuate. Devoid of most of the politics of the day, Kennedy focuses on the men who, while not specifically given the responsibility for getting as many people out as they could, took it upon themselves to rescue those who faced certain death at the hands of the approaching North Vietnamese forces. The marines on the ground, the chopper pilots in the air, and the naval commanders at sea are all given their due for the incredible work that they did in evacuating approximately 170,000+ people in an amazingly short period of time. There are no villains in this film. Ambassador Graham Martin, the person responsible for ordering an evacuation, is treated fairly, as questions are raised and answered as to why an "official" evacuation had not begun earlier, and why thousands were left behind. Heroes are plentiful, from the American pilots who flew for 24 hours straight, to the South Vietnamese pilots who did whatever it took to rescue their families and friends. Most telling as to the emotional toll this event took on those involved is the overwhelming sense of regret and sorrow you get from interviews with US Marines responsible for Embassy security, and the images they witnessed as the last chopper departed Saigon ? thousands of people left on the Embassy grounds that had been assured they would be rescued. The evacuation of Saigon is probably the least known component of the Vietnam War as it occurred two years after the Paris Peace Accords had been signed and the US had withdrawn all combat troops. It deserves to be better known and understood and the people involved appreciated, and this film goes a long way in recognizing the honor and bravery of those tasked with an impossible mission. It's a tribute to Kennedy's skill as a filmmaker that she manages to take a story to which we all know the end and writes a seemingly new, riveting chapter. While the Vietnam experience is often looked at as the nadir in American foreign policy and military engagement, "Last Days in Vietnam" shows us that, even at its lowest point, there were those who stood tall and went above and beyond the call of duty to uphold American honor and simple human dignity.
Last Days in Vietnam (2014) 720p YIFY Movie
Last Days in Vietnam (2014)
Last Days in Vietnam is a movie starring Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Stuart Herrington. During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people...
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The Synopsis for Last Days in Vietnam (2014) 720p
During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only--or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can.
The Director and Players for Last Days in Vietnam (2014) 720p
The Reviews for Last Days in Vietnam (2014) 720p
A Terrible, Terrible Moral DilemmaReviewed bysoncomanVote: 8/10
Rory Kennedy is a masterful story teller, and has combined that talent with historical accuracy in this engaging and truthful documentary. Having been a former AP reporter in Vietnam, I can verify that the US evacuation in 1975 is a little told story---a critical element of the war story, but often disregarded in the annuls of this war. But the evacuation is a catalyst for Ms. Kennedy to recreate the dynamics of how easy it is to get into war, but how difficult to get out. For Vietnam veterans, often not wanting to talk about their war experiences, Ms. Kennedy deftly interweaves the soldiers stories who were there, with an out of touch US ambassador who refused to believe that Saigon would ever be defeated, to a Congress that blocked any more funding to support a falling regime. But the soul of this story is how they all were morally and personally torn by leaving behind many of their Vietnamese counterparts who could not be evacuated in a very hasty and uncoordinated US departure. To add another original dimension, one of the US Kirk navy men had hours of 8mm footage of the evacuation that was uncovered in his attic and remastered by Ms. Kennedy for use on the documentary. One of our soldiers spoke for many of our troops when he said "that he sometimes even dreamed in Vietnamese." In one of the same, this may have been a small part of the war's history, but at the same time epitomized the entire war in 98 minutes of drama, skilled cinematography, stunning resolution and sound, and the riveting pain of war. As an educator and child advocate, I would urge that this be used as a resource in every social studies, history, and political science class rooms in the country.
A couple hours ago, I saw an interesting tweet. It seems that the Oscar-nominated documentary, "Last Days in Vietnam" is now available to watch for free online. Is there a catch? Yep. You need to live in the United States to view this film from Public Broadcasting. Once I learned that this film was financed by PBS and is part of their "American Experience" series, I was a bit surprised however. After all, these films are shown on television here in the States-- so they are not usually eligible for Oscar consideration, though they have received numerous awards such as the Emmy due to their exceptional quality. Apparently, a few "American Experience" films have been shown in theaters (most likely as part of a film festival) and that is why some have been eligible for the Academy Award. In fact, this is the fourth "American Experience" film to be nominated for the Oscar.
"Last Days in Vietnam" is about the fall of South Vietnam for the North's forces in the Spring of 1975. And, because it's an American Experience film, it's told from the viewpoint of Americans as well as some of their South Vietnamese allies. However, this does not mean it will not be interesting to everyone. The story is compelling and you really don't need to be an American or Vietnamese in order to appreciate the story. It's an interesting topic as folks today really don't talk about this period in history and when I was teaching American history, our curriculum rarely talked about the South falling to the Communist forces in the North.
Like a typical "American Experience" film it's told through lots and lots of interviews as well as stock footage as well as some computer models. It does not have narration--and I actually enjoyed this because instead of talking about what occurred, it lets people who were there explain it in their own words. And, like a typical show in the series, it's exceptionally well made and very interesting. It's clearly a very well made film. However, I would say that it's not necessarily better than any of the other shows in the series, as they are almost always exceptionally well made .
So should this win the Oscar? Probably not, as I still prefer "Virunga"--and recommend you see it as well as "Last Days in Vietnam". I should also note that I have not yet seen two of the nominees, "CitzenFour" and "Salt of the Earth"--as finding these documentaries is not always easy. Hopefully I'll get to these before the awards are nominated and I'll update you on my recommendations.
Here is the link. I have been told that it will only be available to see online for a limited time--so get to it as soon as you can: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365417082/