The Arkansas Educational Television Network will host a free preview screening of “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Fort Smith Public Library, 3201 Rogers Ave. An opportunity for discussion featuring a group of local panelists will follow the screening.
Veterans organizations will be present to provide counseling, enrollment and benefits services.
“The Vietnam War” will premiere on AETN Sunday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. An immersive, 360-degree narrative, the series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. The first five episodes will air Sept. 17 through Thursday, Sept. 21, and the final five episodes will air Sunday, Sept. 24, through Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 each night.
“The Vietnam War” features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.
Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. It includes rarely seen, digitally remastered archival footage, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.
The film will be accompanied by an outreach and public engagement program, providing opportunities for communities to participate in a national conversation about what happened during the Vietnam War, what went wrong and what lessons are to be learned. Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation: #VietnamWarPBS.
AETN’s local initiative, “AETN Salutes Arkansas Vietnam Veterans,” also includes the following:
Vietnam story collection – AETN is collecting stories of those who experienced the Vietnam War. The public is invited to share stories through social media outlets with
#VietnamStoriesPBS or the “Share Your Story” tool at aetn.org/thevietnamwar.

The Wall of Faces – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is committed to finding a photo to go with each of the more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. AETN is encouraging the public to help collect the more than 150 missing Arkansas photos for The Wall of Faces.
Quilts of Valor – AETN and the Arkansas chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation have partnered to provide quilts of comfort and healing for Arkansas Vietnam veterans. The public is invited to nominate a veteran to receive a quilt. Anyone interested in contributing to the quilters’ efforts may consider donating fabric and other quilting items at local screening events.
Local productions – AETN is producing local programs in conjunction with the series premiere, including “Arkansans Ask: Veterans History Project,” “Men & Women of Distinction: Ray Rogers” and “Barnes and…A Conversation With Col. Karen Lloyd.” Additionally, each Thursday night following regularly scheduled programs at 8 and 9 p.m., AETN will air short videos produced to complement “The Vietnam War.”
Educational resources – PBS is creating an interactive website and an educational initiative to engage teachers and students through multiple platforms. AETN PBS LearningMedia features a collection of classroom resources to encourage students to explore the many dimensions of this history including key military, political and cultural events, as well as the diverse human experiences featured in the series. Lesson plans, videos and activities will be available for K-12 students, teachers and parents.
Additional information about AETN’s local initiative, including complete information on how to get involved, is available at aetn.org/thevietnamwar.
Funding for “The Vietnam War” is provided by Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H. Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society.