In this episode 1024 of the Vietnam Veteran News the final part of the epic documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will be reviewed. Finally it is over, the 10th part in the eighteen hour ten part program has been aired to the public on PBS. The feeling it leaves a watcher is similar to that of a person who just regurgitated a spoiled seafood platter supper. It was a difficult process during the upchuck but when it was over you feel better.
That’s how I felt after watching the concluding episode. It was over and we moved on. The program started out with a salute to Everett Alvarez, the first American pilot shot down in the war. He survived in a North Vietnamese prison until 1973. Then it was mentioned many of the POW marriages fell apart after the happy reunions.
The fall of South Vietnam to the North was covered in sadly excruciating detail. The outgunned ARVN’s fought as best they could against the stronger NVA but to no avail. It was a sorry spectacle seeing what happens to a US ally who gets cut off by their benefactor Uncle Sam.
Vietnam was reunited but ruined and then to pour gas on the fire the dominate North Vietnamese installed a communist form or government and economic system. No surprise – within ten years their economy was in shambles and the country was on the verge of starvation. Wisely after the old line communist leaders died off, the pragmatists initiated the Doi Moi program. Essentially they scrapped the communist economic framework and installed a free market system and the country never looked back. Today Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.
Another fascinating item mentioned on the final program was the Vietnam – Cambodia War. It is largely unknown to most Americans and it cost the Vietnamese more than 50,000 soldiers according to Burns and Novick.
Listen to episode 1024 of this podcast to get the full story about both the wars Vietnam fought with Cambodia and China after the American War.