(Newswire.net — March 8, 2017) — It took fifty years after Vietnam for America to start making amends for its shameful treatment of Vietnam Veterans. The Journey Home addresses a bitter time in the lives of Veterans, brought on by the lack of support and hostile atmosphere that they received by the American public.
The documentary was selected for the annual San Louis Obispo International Film Festival and will be screened on Thursday, March 16, at 7 pm and Saturday, March 18, at 10 am at the Palm Theater, 817 Palm St., San Luis Obispo.
For information on tickets, visit the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival website.
The Journey Home is a documentary featuring Vietnam veterans from all over the country who have struggled not only with the trauma of confronting war on the frontlines but also with the unexpected stress of an unwelcome home front.
The film deals with the struggle these individuals went through in order to heal from this shameful treatment and unexpected aftermath that they dealt with 50 years ago.
While there are many who continue to battle the invisible wounds of war, many have managed to come to terms with this pain by “serving, contributing, meditating, loving…and forgiving.” And all of them, deserve to be recognized for answering the call of duty.
When asked why the filmmakers were compelled to uncover the painful past of 9 million Americans, the film’s executive producer and President of Remember My Service Productions, Sharlene Hawkes, said that for something this “bad and painful to never happen again, we have to bring it out in the open and talk about it.”
When asked if the veterans were really mistreated when they came home, she replied with a “resounding YES!”
“If they weren’t mistreated, they were at the very least ignored. They weren’t respected or welcomed,” Sharlene added. “I am convinced that America let them down and our country is now doing a good job to make amends.”
Sharlene was one of the first women to work as a sportscaster for ESPN, covering such world-class events as World Cup Soccer, Kentucky Derby and the French Open. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication, giving the documentary a refreshing angle and many different viewpoints.
Cynthia Wallentine, a Vietnam veteran family member, found it to be a “powerful piece,” delivering its message in several ways, leaving politics out of it.
The documentary features interviews with Academy Award winner, Jon Voight, himself a protestor who has become one of the strongest voices in support of Vietnam veterans and the military. Voight had previously spoken at a Vietnam Veterans of America conference and was given a standing ovation. Voight’s comments in the documentary are described as “genuine, sincere, and emotional.”
The film also features Sammy Davis, one of the few living recipients of the Medal of Honor. Movie fans will be interested to know that the footage of President Lyndon B. Johnson presenting the medal to Sammy Davis was later used in the film “Forrest Gump,” with actor Tom Hanks being imposed in the shot.
John Garcia, former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, wasn’t even welcomed at the airport by his family when he returned from the war, and he wanted to go back to Vietnam. But when the interviewer asked him if he has finally “come home,” he had an incredible story to tell about his journey home. Many have found his account to be the most moving part of the documentary.
The film also features Dr. Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project and a former anti-war protestor. Interestingly, though San Francisco was one of the hotbeds for anti-war protest, the documentary was well received at the San Francisco Veterans Film Festival last year.
The film addresses those anti-war protestors who today regret their treatment of the service men and women, understanding better that these men and women were simply answering their nation’s call. Today, many former protestors have tried to make amends.
Until now, the vast majority of Vietnam veterans have never talked about their experiences nor had the opportunity to resolve their buried pain. Many believed that it was best no one ever knew about their service during Vietnam. And yet, they made sure it would never happen again.
“Across the board, their patriotism runs deep and is all the more impressive given their experiences. They hold the flag high, they love their country and they are loud about it. Can you imagine going to a war you don’t want to be in, losing friends, and then coming home to a cold shoulder (or worse) like we gave them? That’s a double whammy of hurt…first on the front lines, and then on the home front,” Sharlene explains.
Jim Fisher (Events Director, WWII Memorial) found the film to be “a balm to those in need of healing”.
Douglas Hardy, one of the rare and lucky Vietnam veterans who were able to move on with his life, said that the video has touched his heart and that it “helped a tender spot to be a little less tender.”
Don Hawkes, also a Vietnam Veteran, showed his gratitude to the filmmakers, saying that “the book and documentary has helped me understand the full scope of this tragedy and helped me begin to “transition” (for a lack of a better word) back into the real world from my Vietnam experience.”
An original collection of stories has been released as a hardbound book to honor and remember the service, duty, and sacrifice of Vietnam era veterans: the Vietnam 50th Commemorative Gift.
Remember My Service Productions hopes to help many veterans in getting the “thank you and welcome home” they deserved.
About The Journey Home
An estimated 9.1 million Americans served in the military during the Vietnam War, August 5, 1964-May, 1975. It was the most controversial war in American history spurring protests and anti-military sentiment lasting long after the veterans returned home. Never before has the military been treated with such hostility and indifference on American soil. In The Journey Home we explore how Vietnam veterans—representing communities from around the country—have been able to reconcile and heal from their treatment fifty years ago. Many still struggle. Many, though, have come to terms with this pain by serving, contributing, meditating, loving…and forgiving. 65 min. USA
The Journey Homeshawkes@remembermyservice.com