Monday, 23 May 2005
History Channel to Film Documentary, Homecoming in Branson During America's Tribute to Vietnam Veterans
BRANSON, MO, (NAMC) - During America's Tribute to Vietnam Veterans in Branson June 13-19, the History Channel will be filming a documentary under the direction of Emmy nominated and award winning producers and written by a Pulitzer nominee.
Plans for the documentary, Homecoming, were revealed Friday by representatives of the Branson Veterans Task Force, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB, Operation Homecoming USA and Skyward Publishing Company. Sammy Jackson, producer, director and editor of the documentary, was introduced along with producer and writer, Robert Vaughan and producer, Shirleen Sando.The documentary has been expanded to include more than the weeklong event and will also chronicle the histories of Vietnam veterans. The two-hour program will air about mid-2006, according to Jackson, who is producer, director, writer and editor of numerous highly acclaimed documentary programs.“Many Vietnam veterans are anticipating the welcome home and this event will bring them to Branson. We do not know just how everything will go yet, but this will be a pilgrimage a lot of Vietnam veterans are willing to make as they attempt to heal and get the welcome home that they deserved and never received. We are going to film this documentary to record that well deserved welcome home. We will be filming the veterans on their way to Branson, during all of the varied activities and when it is finished,” said Jackson. His work represents some of the most dramatic, poignant and tragic moments in world history including the Emmy nominated programs, The Day the Towers Fell, Eyewitness in Iraq, The Rape of Nanking, War Crimes and many others for the networks and international broadcast. His association over the years with Lou Reda Productions (Lou Reda is Executive Producer of Homecoming) has garnered both acclaim and some of the highest rated programs on national television. “I got involved with Gary (Linderer) and all I wanted to do was help out with the project. I have been promoting it on more than 50 talk shows ever since. I live in Alabama and we will be forming a convoy of Vietnam veterans and heading north to Branson for the welcome home ceremony. We will be having veterans join our convoy as it travels to Branson and we expect to have a good number join us in Jonesboro, Ark. where we will stop and relax. We expect to roll into Branson with a lot of veterans from the south. I am very excited about this event,” said Vaughan, who is a best selling author (New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists) of 250 titles and 20 million books including his most recent Brandywine's War: Back in Country. Vaughan authored the Valkyrie Mandate, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Andersonville, which was made into the popular TNT television mini-series. Vaughan is a retired army warrant officer, a helicopter pilot, who served in Germany, Korea, and three tours in Vietnam. For his combat tours, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with the "V" Device, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.Dr. Dale Smith, chairman of the board of the Branson Veterans Task Force, said the non-profit group "supports responsible efforts of gathering the stories of this nation's veterans. We currently support the Veterans History Project with the Library of Congress and are especially supportive of preserving the Vietnam veterans' stories. We applaud Ms. Sando's and Vaughan's efforts in helping make this documentary become a reality. We also applaud Gary Linderer and Steve Presley for their insight and hard work with Operation Homecoming USA and this history-making welcome home for Vietnam veterans.”“We are honored to bring the (Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall Experience) to Branson and we plan to have the wall escorted by several thousand motorcycles as it heads for the Grand Palace. The purpose of the wall is to give those who cannot go to Washington, DC to see the memorial a chance to experience that special feeling that it brings to Vietnam veterans and the public. This is our way of saying welcome home to all Vietnam veterans,” said Jeff Hicks, Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall Experience representative. He said the three-quarter size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall will be in Branson for the entire week rather than the normal three day limit in one location.Sando said interviews will take place with the crew visiting various veterans' groups during the week along with the many activities, with the convoy and a rally to take place June 12 welcoming the convoy and the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall Experience crew as they arrive and erect the wall. Sando is president of Skyward Publishing, serves as director for Ozark Writers Incorporated and newsletter editor for Authorsource.biz. She announced a commemorative book coordinating with the documentary will be published by Skyward Publishing and a PBS pending project, a spin-off from the documentary.“We have had our ups and downs and we have had some detractors along the way. We have 30 days left until (America's Tribute to Vietnam Veterans) happens and this will be something very special, not only for the Vietnam veterans, but also the City of Branson. A lot of us Vietnam veterans thought something like this would never happen and I want to tell you that this will be a healing process for a lot of those who attend. This will help correct the damage done when these veterans were disrespected by the nation that sent them to Vietnam. It is fitting that it will happen here in Branson where veterans from all wars are welcome,” said Linderer.BVTF works to promote an environment of patriotic pride and dignity to recognize and honor the nation's veterans and their families. In addition to the Veterans History Project, the BVTF hosts the nation's largest Veterans Day event, Veterans Homecoming held during Veterans Week in November. The organization also supports Operation Homecoming USA's Welcome Home...America's Tribute to Vietnam Veterans during which a large part of the filming for the History Channel documentary will be done. The week-long event has the specific mission of providing Vietnam veterans the national homecoming they never received. Operation Homecoming USA is anticipating tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans to attend.“This is a community with a common goal - that’s to make people’s lives happier. I appreciate being a part of that. Perhaps we can be a beacon of light for other communities and we can find our common purpose,” said Smith.For more information about BVTF go to bransonveterans.com or call 417-337-VETS. For more information about Skyward Publishing go to www.skywardpublishing.com. For more information about Operation Homecoming go to operationhomecomingusa.com.
Linda Ward Public Relations176 Corporate PlaceBranson, MO 65616417-332-0167 phone417-334-4253 fax 417-230-4371 cell