We know a lot of our friends are preoccupied this week with the documentary, “The Vietnam War.”

A common phrase seems to be, “I didn’t know that.” A choked up feeling and tears are common, too. 

We’re in it now, at our house. Watching it every couple days. 

You have to make room for it, because it’s a serious commitment – it’s in 10 parts and totals 18 hours. We started it with some trepidation, sure that it would unleash sorrow, regret, maybe even despair in that we may not have learned from the whole thing ...

And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? The reason we should make room for this epic documentary might be because we left that war and we avoided thinking and talking about it ... later, we realized we couldn’t leave our veterans hanging like that and have tried to make some amends, and we’ve faced up to it ... and we really need to learn about how it happened: What was there before we got into it, why we got into it, how policy was shaped intentionally or accidentally ... so many things.

A note from the website promoting the documentary:

“ ... ‘The Vietnam War’ tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film.”

That seems about right. We’re looking at the film footage and photographs and we’re seeing youths ... who were our parents, our siblings, cousins, neighborhood children ... what we lost.

And we’re looking at combatants and civilians from both the sides in Vietnam.

From what we’ve seen, it’s going to be worth watching. But don’t start until you’ve made the commitment.

We asked Facebook friends what they thought of the documentary and got a few responses:

– Rick Crumrine: Interesting to see the history of French occupation in Vietnam dating back to the late 1800s. Reminds me of similar nation building that Britain had proposed in India and other countries.

Interesting to note from Ken Burns’ series ... military leaders were trying to recapture the successes of WWII, with the similar tactics and strategies in the jungles of Vietnam. It became obvious this was not sustainable. My only sorrow was that our Vietnam vets did not receive the respect and support when they came home.

– Eric Vodden: I have watched every minute of every episode. Even though I grew up in that era, I have learned a lot. Yes, a lot of it is very disturbing, but it’s necessary to be educated about this so we learn from our mistakes.

– Chuck Smith: Yes, but don’t binge on it. Record it and watch one every other day. It’s hard to take it all in.

– Jessie Peterson: I’m watching it and hoping to catch a glimpse of my dad (Ed Peterson) in the archived footage


Thumbs Up: Seems like we’ve got it all straightened out now. 

City of Yuba City personnel would just like one thing clarified concerning the story and commentary we ran last week about the Sutter County supervisors’ response to the grand jury report. The grand jury looked at how things fell out with the February crisis at Oroville Dam and procedures for calling and handling the evacuation and emergency operations. The grand jury had a finding, and the county agreed, that emergency orders from the county supersede any orders that come from a city.

During the crisis, Yuba City had advised people to evacuate. The county officials made the evacuation an order for everywhere else in the county. 

The city just wanted to point out that nothing had changed ... the county could have countermanded the city’s advisory with an order, but didn’t. The city, in a reply to the grand jury report earlier this year, agreed with the policy, too.

Hopefully, everyone has that clear now ... local governments can take action, county government orders take priority ... if they are made.


Ugh: While on a long road trip, an older couple stopped at a roadside cafe for some lunch. After their meal, they got back in the car and started down the road. They went some 40 miles when Margaret started digging through her purse, checking her pockets, looking around.

“What’s the matter?” Earl asked.

“I’m pretty sure I left my glasses on the table at the cafe.”

“What?  Dad-blame-it, Margaret, it’ll take an hour to get back there ... you can just forget about them, I’m not going back.”

“I’ve got to have my glasses, Earl. That’s crazy not to go back and get them. I’m sorry I made a mistake, but I have to have my glasses ... I won’t be able to drive, or see things, or read ... “

“Oh, OK,” Earl yells and mutters and curses as he looks for a place to turn around, which takes another half hour ... And he mutters, and curses and moans and rattles on and on and on all the way back to the cafe.

They pull into the cafe parking lot and Margaret, relieved that it will soon be over, gets out and starts in ... and Earl rolls down the window and yells after her.

“You might as well ask them if they found my hat ... and get the credit card, too.”

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