Join the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and KBTX-T on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6:30pm, for an in-depth look into the lives of some incredible people: Vietnam veterans.
They were barely old enough to vote, but they faced death at an age when their adult lives were just beginning, and the experience changed them all.
It’s been just more than 50 years since the decision to send U.S. combat troops to Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands served. More than 58,000 didn’t come home – 3,415 of them from Texas, whose losses were third only to New York and California.
The rest, some haunted by memories of dying buddies and bloody battles, came home to angry protests, a silent majority that refused to speak up, and the broken promises of a country that seemed determined to forget the divisive war.
Veteran KWTX-TX producers, photojournalists and editors Jim Peeler and Don Smith, spent months gathering their stories for the award-winning documentary, We Can’t Forget: Vietnam.
From a distance of five decades, the veterans they interviewed speak candidly and frankly, some for the first time, about their experiences both during and after the conflict. Their raw, unvarnished memories reveal just how deeply the experience affected them.
They say that while they might not have been members of the “Greatest Generation”, they are the greatest members of their generation. But they say their sacrifices have gone unacknowledged, the good deeds of most tainted by the bad deeds of a few.
Following the documentary will be a panel discussion featuring Joe Galloway, newspaper correspondent as moderator; General Barry McCaffrey, US Army (Ret); Lieutenant General Paul (Butch) Funk, US Army (Ret); and David Burnett, photojournalist. (For more information about the panelists, see their biographies below.) These men experienced first-hand the inexplicable horrors of combat and the unflappable strength of camaraderie, unmitigated hatred and unwavering patriotism, crippling fear and absolute heroism.
This is a story that must be heard, but has been kept quiet for decades.
On Feb. 9, through documentary and discussion, the George Bush Library and Museum and KBTX-TV can help ensure that Vietnam will not be forgotten.
Joe Galloway, Moderator – A native of Refugio, Texas, Joe Galloway is a newspaper correspondent and columnist. Since 2013, he has worked as a special consultant for the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration project and as a consultant to a Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War that will be broadcast in the fall on PBS. During the Vietnam War, he often worked beside the American troops he covered and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal in 1998 for carrying a badly wounded man to safety while he was under enemy fire in 1965.
General Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret) – Barry McCaffrey served in the United State Army for 32 years. When he retired in 1996, he was the most decorated General serving in the United States Army, having been awarded 3 Purple Heart Medals for wounds received in combat, 2 Distinguished Service Crosses (the nation’s second highest award for valor), and 2 Silver Stars for valor. He served overseas for more than 12 years, including 4 combat tours with the 82nd Abn Division, the Vietnamese Airborne Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the 24th Mech Infantry Division. In 2015 he was selected for the Doughboy Award, the highest honor the Chief of Infantry can bestow on any infantryman for outstanding contribution to the United States Infantry. In 2007 he was inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame at the US Army Infantry Center, Ft. Benning, GA. In May 2010, he was honored as a Distinguished Graduate by the West Point Association of Graduates at the United States Military Academy. Currently, General McCaffrey is president of his own consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia. He also serves as a national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News.
Lieutenant General Paul (Butch) Funk, USA (Ret) – Lieutenant General Funk has held every significant leadership position in the Army from Platoon Leader through Commander of the III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Texas. A highly-decorated combat veteran with extensive service in both Vietnam and Iraq during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, LTG Funk is also a well-recognized educator, holding a Doctorate in Education from Montana State University. He is a distinguished visiting fellow at West Point’s William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic. He has been interviewed by CNN, the History Channel, U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times and National Public Radio. He now serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, is an award-winning rancher and proud grandfather.
David Burnett – David Burnett is a photojournalist with more than 5 decades of work covering the news, the people and visual tempo of our age. He is co-founder of Contact Press Images, the New York-based photojournalism agency, now entering its 40th year. In a recent issue of American Photo Magazine Burnett was named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography.” Over the past 50 years he’s captured images of history unfolding: war, sport, politics, the famous, the infamous and the unfamous. The May/June 2010 issue of American PHOTO did a 10-page story on David, and his unique talent for staying ahead of the times. Reporters Without Borders recently published “100 Photos for Freedom of the Press” featuring a whole career’s worth of David’s work.