The Draft airs Monday, April 27 at 8 pm
In the 1960s and 1970s nothing in the United States fueled divisions between race, class and culture like the military draft. It drove young men to the altar, to college, to Canada and to the jungles of Vietnam. These stories form part of America’s long, contentious relationship to the draft, culminating now in demands to reinstate it. This film covers this history from the origins of conscription to its turbulent peak in the Vietnam War, exploring the unintended consequences — for soldiers and citizens — of eliminating mandatory service. It features searing stories and intimate interviews with the people who fought the draft, supported it and lived its realities. The film tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define a nation.
Dick Cavett’s Vietnam airs Monday, April 27 at 9 pm.
This program, scheduled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the official end of the Vietnam War, examines the war and its effect on America through the prism of interviews conducted by Dick Cavett on “The Dick Cavett Show.” He devoted entire shows to U.S. Generals, POWs, the Pentagon Papers, the My Lai Massacre and journalists that covered the war including David Brinkley, Ted Koppel and PBS’ own Robert MacNeill. Cavett also interviewed leaders of the ’60s anti-war movement including Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. New interviews with Cavett and Vietnam historians, including Phil Caputo, Fredrik Logevall and Tim Naftali, provide connective tissue and timeline details. The new interviews provide fresh and honest perspective on what really happened at home and on the battlefield.
Stateless airs Monday, April 27 at 10 pm
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Duc H. Nguyen follows the stories of Vietnamese refugees who have been living in a condition f statelessness in the Philippines for 16 years while awaiting a rare opportunity for resettlement in the United States. Many may be familiar with the mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees following the 1975 fall of Saigon, but most do not know that there are still Vietnamese refugees seeking asylum today. STATELESS follows the stories of refugees such as Nguyen Phuc Trong, who has unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Vietnam numerous times since 1975. The great risks that refugees like Phuc Trong take are centered around their anticipation and hope of an opportunity for resettlement. In Manila, lawyer and activist Trinh Hoi and his legal aid center team help the nearly 2,000 Vietnamese “long-stayers” resolve the legal limbo that has rendered them stateless.
The Day The 60s Died airs Tuesday, April 28 at 7 pm
On April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon shocked the country by announcing the United States invasion of Cambodia. At college campuses across the U.S., masses of previously uninvolved students took to the streets in protest. Five days later, four unarmed Kent State students were shot dead by National Guardsmen. In many ways, this event and the spasm of violent unrest that followed marked a fever pitch in the conversation about class, race, freedom and democracy. The Day the 60s Died goes into the lives of Americans at the heart of the conflict — from the students and soldiers who witnessed Kent State to a young foot soldier in the Cambodian jungle; from construction workers fighting demonstrators on Wall Street to the survivors of police shootings of Jackson State students. In May 1970, the “peace now” optimism of the 1960s counterculture met its end at Kent State and American society split apart along generational, gender, racial, political and economic lines
Last Days In Vietnam: American Experience airs Tuesday, April 28 at 8 pm.
During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Rory Kennedy’s film has been nominated for an Oscar.
This Is My Home Now airs Tuesday, April 28 at 10 pm
This documentary about the lives of three Montagnard immigrant families in Greensboro, North Carolina. The four young people being profiled have arrived in the past decade and are living in two worlds, supported by those who have come before them but also by community members and professionals who have sponsored them or are looking after their educational and social needs. Although the first Montagnard immigrants, a small group of about 200, were granted refugee status in 1986 in recognition of their support of U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War, the majority are more recent arrivals fleeing religious and political persecution.