"Vietnam in HD," (airing for two hours at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) is a six-hour docudrama that will open your eyes.
Using home movies and archival footage unseen by even the most avid students of the war in which 2.5 million Americans served, the miniseries starts in the spring of 1964 when fewer than 50 percent of Americans had even heard of Vietnam. Music of the era sets the scene as young men and women frolic. But we have already seen clips of the battles, the flag-covered coffins, the generals meeting, and we know what is coming.
The battle scenes were culled from thousands of hours of uncensored footage, much of it shot by soldiers, then converted into high definition. Shot from the ground and the air, the footage is pulse-poundingly realistic and occasionally graphic.
Tuesday's show is titled "The Beginning / Search and Destroy," Wednesday's is "The Tet Offensive / An Endless War," Thursday's is "A Changing War / Peace With Honor." Details of each show are can be seen at the History Channel web site. The soundtrack for the show can be downloaded from iTunes for $14.99 through a link at the site.
The spoken and written comments of 13 real people are voiced by such stars as Edward Burns, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dylan McDermott and Adrian Grenier. It is narrated by Michael C. Hall.
This excellent docudrama followsthe History Channel's acclaimed Emmy-winning series "WWII In HD," which was seen by more than 24 million people in 2009.
To mark the premiere of this miniseries, the History Channel is working with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the Honor Flight Network to support the Memorial Fund's Call for Photos Initiative. This national effort is designed to preserve the memories of those who lost their lives in Vietnam by collecting a photo for each of the 58,272 people named on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The photos will be featured in an interactive exhibit at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's education center, which is scheduled to open in 2014. the memorial fund has already collected about 20,000 of the needed photos.
The History Channel will also work with Honor Flight to recognize the service of three Vietnam Veterans by hosting their visit to the Memorial Wall on Veterans Day.
-- Anne Neville
Image credit: The History Channel