When Gus Kappler begins watching the new PBS documentary by Ken Burns tonight, “The Vietnam War,” he doesn’t expect any new insight about why we were there and was it worth the cost. In his mind, he’s already got the answers to those questions.
“It was a disgusting quagmire, there was no honesty about why we were there, and very simply, it was horrible,” said Kappler, an Amsterdam resident and retired trauma surgeon who spent much of 1970 and ’71 in Vietnam tending to the wounded and dying. “But I am definitely going to watch, all of it. I think he usually does an excellent job with his documentaries, and after all these years I’m sure he’ll be very fair.”
Watch a preview of “Ken Burns’ THE VIETNAM WAR”
The filmmaker who captured the interest of most Americans more than two decades ago with his groundbreaking series, “The Civil War,” Burns and his co-director, Lynn Novick, spent much of the last decade working on “The Vietnam War.” Along with that monumental effort – the series is a 10-part, 18-hour documentary that will air over the next two weeks – WMHT is offering its own 30-minute companion piece that will air Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. called “The Wounds We Feel at Home,” produced and edited by Matthew Rogowicz.
Kappler, who grew up on Long Island and recently retired from St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, wasn’t well versed in the history of Southeast Asia and all of its issues when he went to Vietnam in 1970.
“I had no opinion,” said Kappler. “I was drafted into the Army in 1965 as an intern and was given a five-year deferment to finish my medical training. So I went in thinking all the…
click here to read more.