The Skinny (No Spoilers) When I was in high school, my U.S. history professor said that the biggest mistake that teachers make is to not teach past World War II. Whether it is from spending too much time on the Civil War or on the outsized personalities of revolutionary presidents, most professors run out of time at the end of the year and are only able to get us to 1945. As a result, we have kids that know what happened at the constitutional convention, but don’t know about those events that still directly impact their contemporary worlds: What caused the first Gulf War? What is the Civil Right Acts? What the hell happened during the Vietnam War? Last Days in Vietnam is a damn good documentary on the evacuation of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975. The famous picture of people scurrying to the roof to board a helicopter has been burned into a generation of American memories, rightly or wrongly, as a symbol of the wars futility (even though the roof shown is not actually that of the embassy). Directed by Rory Kennedy, who won an Emmy for the documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Last Days of Vietnam uses interviews from former embassy workers and soldiers, American and Vietnamese, to paint of rich narrative of those chaotic days. Running a quick 98 minutes, Last Days in Vietnam moves quick as a bunny, while still giving the viewer the necessary context. This is a must watch for those within Generation Y, since it is highly unlikely they have read, or heard, much about these April events.
Lesson of the Day: If You’re Running For Office, It’s Generally Good Practice Not To Lie [Especially If You’re Addressing More Than One Person and There’s a Video Camera in the Room]
Lesson of the Day: When telling a story about your service in Vietnam, it usually helps if you actually served in Vietnam. [minor details]