Last Days in Vietnam

Refugees are flown in a helicopter, c. 1975. Image courtesy of Hugh Doyle.
Refugees are flown in a helicopter, c. 1975. Image courtesy of Hugh Doyle.

The acclaimed PBS history series American Experience hopes to collect and preserve stories of Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnam veterans through the First Days Story Project.

The project stems from Rory Kennedy’s film, Last Days in Vietnam, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. “…The film tells the story of the harrowing final hours in Saigon in April 1975, when the city fell to the North Vietnamese, and thousands of South Vietnamese, with the help of the few American military personnel still on the ground, fled, fearing for their lives.”

The team at American Experience want to do more. Forty years after the fall, they seek to answer the question: What happened to those people after they fled? They hope to collect and preserve stories of 200 people using a StoryCorps model, where a pair of people record their stories. These stories will be shared on the American Experience website and will be archived in the Library of Congress.

Go to the First Days Story Project to find out more about the project, and how you can support it. CAAM is a community outreach partner for broadcast on this project.

Main image: Refugees are flown in a helicopter, c. 1975. Image courtesy of Hugh Doyle.

UPDATE: An earlier version of the post used the phrase “Vietnamese immigrants.” We have updated to “Vietnamese refugees.”