A Son Documents His Father’s Experience In “My Father’s Vietnam”

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August 30, 2016 — When Soren Sorensen was ten years old, his father, Peter, took him to Washington, D.C., where he saw his father trace the names of two men off of Maya Lin’s Vietnam War Memorial. Then he watched in astonishment as the usually stoic Peter’s eyes filled with tears.

Peter Sorensen had served in Vietnam. The names he traced belonged to two men he had served with, neither of whom survived the war.

Soren Sorensen set out to try to understand his father’s feelings about the war that had so deeply divided Americans. 

Peter had enlisted, although not out of any particular agreement with the war which he thought was “bogus.” But he came from a military family and believed he should do his part. He also expected that by enlisting he might be able to sit out his time in officer training school and perhaps even miss the war entirely. But he miscalculated and ended up being assigned first to the combat engineers.

The two Vietnam buddies, who died there were Loring Bailey Jr. and Glenn Rickert. Soren Sorensen interviews remaining members of their two families — people who are still grieving for their loss.

Peter Sorensen returned from Vietnam to a country whose opinion was so split by the war that it practically ignored the returning men and women who had served. Soren Sorensen now realizes that his father — and many like him — suffered from a form of PTSD, a condition that was not even recognized until 1980. 

This film documents a personal and deeply-felt story, of a survivor who out-lived his comrades-in-arms and returned to a country that did not honor the service of the men who served.

My Father’s Vietnam is available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD; the title will be released on September 6, 2016.

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