The time-honored tradition of individual states honoring their own to die in a national conflict has been replicated in one form or another since Gettysburg. The Vietnam War is no exception, and of late there has been a growing number of tributes arising from the state and local level.
Filmmaker Keith Famie focuses on Vietnam veterans hailing from Michigan in Our Vietnam Generation, which is dedicated to the memory of the 2,654 Michiganders who lost their lives in the conflict. Famie’s independent production includes interviews with veterans, along with family members and academics.The full-length documentary runs 110 minutes, and the DVD includes extra interviews and a tour of today’s Vietnam.
Our Vietnam Generation is full of stories of valor and selflessness, but perhaps one story stands out, that of John Colone. The infantryman was shot five times in a 45-minute period during an ambush in February 1968. Colone recounts how he remembered being naked and hearing someone say, “Leave Colone alone, he’s dead.” He dreamt that he kept rolling off a pile of logs in the dark. At a reunion of his unit 30 years later, he said he was introduced to a guy he didn’t remember and the guy’s eyes got real big and he yelled: “You made it! You made it! I found you in a body bag!” That’s when he found out that the logs he had dreamed about were actually a pile of bodies in the morgue and that he had rolled off twice before being discovered he was still alive.
This film is not just for the veterans and people of Michigan, but serves for the entire nation with its poignant remembrances that add further dimension to our understanding of the war.
Visionalist Entertainment Productions, 2009, www.ourvietnamgeneration.com