Finding Common Ground: The Vietnam War with Ken Burns

This article was written for Bank of America by Thong Nguyen (President of Retail Banking and Co-head of Consumer Banking).

“Beginning this project was almost a daily humiliation of how much I didn’t know. And when you understand that, it permits you to shift your perspective, listen to everybody’s stories and maybe find some common ground.”

That’s what documentary filmmaker Ken Burns told me when I asked him what he’d learned from his and Lynn Novick’s exploration of one of the most complicated and consequential conflicts in American history for their new PBS film, “The Vietnam War.”

As a Vietnamese immigrant myself, Ken’s words gave me hope; hope that we can all work to put aside our differences and convene our various points of view in honor of the idea that all people who experience war, no matter the side of the conflict they stand on, share common ground and have perspectives worth acknowledging. As Ken and Lynn put it, “There is no single truth in war.” To me, that means opening our ears and our hearts to voices that differ from our own, an incredibly valuable endeavor.

At Bank of America, we’re proud of our longstanding partnership with Ken Burns and share his vision of making our history a compelling narrative that will have a lasting impact on Americans and people around the world. In Ken and Lynn’s landmark documentary, that vision is as clear as ever and has resulted in a moving and powerful film that will, I hope, bring us together in meaningful dialogue and debate.

As I told Ken, this film is not something that you watch, it’s something that you feel. I encourage you all to join me in watching, thinking and talking about “The Vietnam War,” premiering on PBS September 17th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

To learn more about the film and our partnership, visit bankofamerica.com/VietnamWar.

8/31/2017


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