In the decades since the end of the Vietnam War, the conflict continues to be discussed and debated as to its impact then and now. In order to showcase stories in Western New York and Southern Ontario, Buffalo Toronto Public Media brings you “Our Vietnam Voices” - a digital-first series showcasing Vietnam veterans and others affected by the war in our region. Watch the series below.
We also encourage you to share your own story here or using the hashtag #VietnamStoriesPBS.
UB Studies the Effects of War
As more Vietnam veterans enter retirement, many struggle with physical and mental health issues as a result of their war experience. A student at the University at Buffalo has studied 117 Vietnam veterans and reports back to the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter about post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic growth.
Veterans Treatment Court
This story shares the success of the Veterans Treatment Court program, which is an alternative to incarceration for veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system. This program, created in Buffalo, NY, is now modeled across the country and attributes volunteer veteran mentors like local Vietnam veteran Dr. Patrick Welch, as a key part of its success. For Patrick, it’s his way of giving back to his fellow veterans and honoring those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.
A Canadian’s Story
The role of Canada was one of support and peacekeeping rather than joining American forces in the fight against the North Vietnamese. However, some Canadians did want to fight – even if it wasn’t in a Canadian uniform. Nearly 30,000 American men crossed the border into Canada to avoid the draft. Roughly the same number of Canadians crossed into the United States and signed up to serve. This story features the Vietnam experience of Dominic Bilotta, a Canadian citizen who proudly fought as a U.S. Marine during the war.
Vietnam Veterans of America - Chapter 77
The local Western New York chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America is recognized as the 6th largest in the nation with nearly 650 members. Their work includes helping veterans from all wars, increasing the awareness of veteran issues and giving back to the community. This story follows Chapter 77 as they live out their mission to ensure that one generation of veterans never abandons another.
Watch Online Now
Our Vietnam Voices
UB Studies the Effects of War
A graduate student looks at the effects of the Vietnam War on those who served in-country.
PBS and Buffalo Toronto Public Media invite you to participate in a national conversation about what happened during the Vietnam War, what went wrong and what lessons are to be learned.
Our Vietnam Voices | Listen to the WBFO stories
Our Vietnam Voices | WBFO
While recording the oral histories of local Vietnam War veterans, a University at Buffalo researcher found that post-traumatic growth can exist at the same time as PTSD.
Our Vietnam Voices | WBFO
WBFO's Avery Schneider takes a look at a program in the WNY court system that thanks to the influence of Vietnam veterans helps others who served put their live on a better path.
Our Vietnam Voices | WBFO
While thousands of men left the U.S. for Canada to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, many Canadian men came to America to do just the opposite.
Veterans One-Stop Center- Veterans One-stop Center of WNY, Inc. is Western New York’s premier veterans service and advocacy collaborative offering U.S. Veterans and their families the convenience of a “one-stop”, barrier-free location in which to access a holistic range of social and health services…in the comfort of a “home base” environment that is always welcoming, affirming and responsive to their needs. http://vocwny.org/
Veteran Treatment Courts- Justice For Vets is dedicated to transforming the way the justice system identifies, assesses and treats our veterans, leading the national effort to put a veterans treatment court in reach of every veteran in need. They are committed to ensuring that no veteran is left behind by providing training and technical assistance to help communities bring together local, state, and federal resources to directly serve veterans involved in the justice system due to mental health disorders, trauma, and substance use. http://justiceforvets.org/
Local Erie County Veterans Treatment Court- The Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court is a hybrid drug and mental health court that serves veterans who are struggling with addiction and / or mental illness by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system into a specialized veterans court.
America Legion- The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans. https://www.legion.org/
American Veterans-AMVETS, which is also known as American Veterans, is the largest and oldest veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans and their families. s one of America’s leading veterans service organizations with more than 250,000 members, AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens.
Disabled American Veterans- DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year. https://www.dav.org/
Military Order of the Purple Heart- The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart," was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients, it is the only veterans service organization comprised strictly of “combat” veterans. http://www.purpleheart.org/
N.Y. State Division of Veterans Affairs- The DVA advocates on behalf of New York’s Veterans and their families, as individuals and as a group, to ensure they receive benefits granted by law for service in the United States Armed Forces. The Division provides free benefits advising. Experienced and dedicated advisors — each a Veteran — work in a network of field offices across the state and offer Veterans and their families with professional help to resolve social, medical, and economic matters. http://www.veterans.ny.gov/
Paralyzed Veterans of America- Since 1946, Paralyzed Veterans of America has been on a mission to change lives and build brighter futures for our seriously injured heroes. They are dedicated to serving veterans—and to medical research, advocacy and civil rights for all people with disabilities. http://www.pva.org/
Veterans of Foreign Wars- The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization composed of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. https://www.vfw.org/
Vietnam Veterans of America– VVA’s goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans.
Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 77 (WNY)
Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 20 (Rochester)
Veterans Outreach Center- Veterans Outreach Center is a 501(c)-3 non-profit providing supportive services to veterans in Rochester, Buffalo and the 14 surrounding counties. They provide comprehensive resources to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families through direct service, community collaboration, and advocacy.
PBS Learning Media
Teaching the Vietnam War-This collection of videos and lesson plans can help students explore the social and political dynamics of the Vietnam War. Students will examine why, how, and by whom the Vietnam War was fought, how it affected U.S. citizens at home, and how factors shifted over the course of the war. Students will identify the Vietnam War’s legacy and lasting toll on veterans.
Last Days in Vietnam: Refugees-Learn about the unsanctioned U.S. naval escort of thousands of refugees on South Vietnamese ships from Con Son Island to the Philippines in this video and classroom resources adapted from American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam.
American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam- Gain insights into the American evacuation of Saigon and the Vietnamese refugee experience through some moving personal accounts of bravery and perseverance in this collection of media resources from American Experience. The collection features classroom resources from the Academy Award®-nominated film, Last Days in Vietnam, and from the First Days Story Project, a collaboration with the oral history project StoryCorps. The resources present the perspectives of people who were there, and describe the moral dilemmas they faced as communist-aligned forces closed in on Saigon. They also capture the lengths to which refugees went to escape, and reveal what new life in a new land held for them.