By Don Jarosz, TACOM Public AffairsAugust 31, 2017
DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- The Vietnam War, America's longest war, was one of the most divisive and controversial events in American history.
On September 17 PBS plans to premier a ten-part documentary series titled "The Vietnam War," produced by award-winning Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. A special preview showing of the documentary was given last week to U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command workforce members at the Detroit Arsenal auditorium, following by a presentation honoring our employees who are Vietnam War-era veterans.
Rich Homberg, Detroit Public TV president and CEO, spoke to our workforce about how the series, ten years in the making, explores the war from all sides -- the Americans who fought, those who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam.
"I will tell you that this is probably the most important program that we have produced and aired," Homberg stated. "Ken Burns says that this is the best thing that he has ever done, and he is a very modest man, and I think that PBS will say the same thing."
"This hits you in the gut, this is going to be something to watch. To hear and to see the enemy had the same concerns that we had," Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters, TACOM commanding general, stated after he saw the preview.
LeMasters and TACOM Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Griffin then presented 16 Detroit Arsenal Vietnam War-era veterans with a Vietnam War lapel pin and presidential proclamation. Once the first veteran came up to the auditorium stage, the crowd all stood up and continued to stand for all of the presentations in tribute.
"This is a big deal and important … I want to personally recognize our veterans," LeMasters said. "I am not going to comment on the political aspect on what we did at this time, what I'm here to do is to recognize those men and women who answered the call and served our country and that is what we are about today."
The presidential proclamation was signed by former President Barack Obama on May 25, 2012. The proclamation states: "While no words will ever be fully worthy of their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor. Let us renew our commitment to the fullest possible accounting for those who have not returned. Throughout this commemoration, let us strive to live up to their example by showing our Vietnam veterans, their families, and all who have served the fullest respect and support of a grateful nation."