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Revisting Vietnam's final days is a riveting journey

Last Days in Vietnam


"Last Days in Vietnam" is a gripping documentary about an angst-ridden military over evacuating Vietnamese citizens out of South Vietnam during the final days and hours at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
The film serves to remind us that after America's involvement in Vietnam for more than a decade, the Paris Peace Accord was signed in 1973 which divided the country into north and south, much like Korea. When North Vietnam decided to test the resolve of America and invaded the south, thus breaking the peace agreement, Congress would not fulfill its promise to re-engage to support the government of the south.
The result of America's decision doomed the free Vietnamese government and enabled the Communist troops in the north to push south, eventually overrunning the entire country and capturing Saigon, the capital.
Directed by Rory Kennedy, the film follows the chaotic unraveling of a war caught up in not only the suffering of the South Vietnamese facing the devastation of their country by North Vietnam, but the political dissension that pitted the military against the politicians in the U.S.
Dramatically adept in unfolding the stories of America's military heroes, who opted to ask forgiveness rather permission, to evacuate the citizens of South Vietnam, Kennedy weaves a heart-wrenching depiction of how America “failed” the South Vietnamese people and yet, because of unauthorized actions, saved thousands of men, women, and children, who were destined to be executed or imprisoned.
Perhaps the most enlightening detail exposed in the film is the role U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam Graham Martin played in the deterioration of the war because of his inability to comprehend, or accept, the inevitability of North Vietnam's ruthless invasion of its southern neighbor, believing, deeply, that peace could be achieved between the two countries.
In his 1977, “Decent Interval,” Frank Snepp, a top analyst on Vietnam at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1972-1975, states that Ambassador Martin ignored information contained in intelligence reports that North Vietnam was committed to achieving victory and thus jeopardized the lives of many, including Americans, by not adequately preparing for an evacuation.
Through personal accounts of many of the military personnel involved during those last, fateful days in Vietnam, it becomes quite evident that the decision of 'who stays and who gets left behind' continues to leave open wounds that are difficult to close for not only the people of South Vietnam, but for America as well.
War is always destructive path to travel, despite any achievements that might be gained. But revisiting a tragic war that historically divided the American people, is a journey worth taking.

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