Vietnam War

Coming in September to WXXI-TV, The Vietnam War is an immersive, ten-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never-before been told on film.

These stories from WXXI News help to shape an understanding of the reasoning and impact from The Vietnam War ahead of the documentary in September. You can find more on the upcoming documentary including a 30-minute preview at WXXI.org/Vietnam.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

A statue was unveiled outside St. John Fisher College in remembrance of the only alumnus known to have died in Vietnam.

Thomas Urban Way, or Tommy, graduated from Fisher in 1966. He had a mop of curly red hair, he loved to play soccer, and by all accounts, he was one of the good ones.

His sister, Betty Bufano, remembers him fondly.

Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell/ Creative Commons License / U.S. Navy

Earlier this month, several veterans told their stories at the annual Stars and Stripes Celebration, in Rochester, an event that pays tribute to the local heroes of our Armed Forces. 

As part of WXXI's Veterans Day coverage, below are interviews with three area veterans:

--Jenkins, who served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War

--RJ, a Marine who served in Iraq in 2005

--Jerry, who served in the Navy in Vietnam.

On Veterans Day, Americans are asked to take time to honor those, living and deceased, who answered the nation's call to arms when needed. Living in the Town of Tonawanda is a veteran who was among those involved in one of World War II's most famous battles.

Local Colleges Help Veterans Receive Education

Nov 11, 2015
Emily Mein / WXXI - St. John Fisher College

Veterans returning to civilian life can face many challenges, but local colleges and universities are doing their part to make sure receiving an education isn’t one of them.


WXXI Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP & WXXI News)  A new report shows almost a third of the veterans living in New York state served during the Vietnam War era. 

State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a snapshot of the 890,000 veterans living in the state as Veterans' Day approaches on Wednesday. Nearly three-quarters of the state's veterans served during wartime. The largest number of veterans was in the 65-to-69 age group. 

Suffolk County on Long Island is home to the largest population of veterans in the state, with just over 76,000.


Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

As they have each year for the past 41 years, local peace activists will hold a candle light vigil in Avon tonight.

Retired pediatrician Dr. Arnold Matlin said the group formed during the Vietnam era and their message is simple.                            

"It's been 70 years since the bombing, and it's easy to forget something that happened 70 years ago, but we think we should never forget that the U.S. used these terrible weapons against another country."


Monroe County is embarking on a new program to help area veterans. It uses the relationship between vets to help them get through various issues.

It's called the "PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program,” and it's named after an Army veteran from downstate who took his own life after returning from Iraq and suffering post-traumatic stress.

Monroe County has  received a $185,000 state grant to help set up the program which will be administered with the help of Compeer, the local organization that provides mental health and other services.

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will be in Washington, D.C. on Monday to help the Postal Service dedicate the Limited Edition Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever Stamps.

We take a slight departure from the usual Innovation Friday topics to acknowledge a major anniversary related to America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam.

In 1975, 2,700 Vietnamese babies and children were evacuated to the US mainland in Operation Babylift. Another 1,300 went to Canada, Australia and Europe. 

A series of commemorative events are planned for Saturday April 25th which marks the day when the last transport plane left the tarmac in Saigon ahead of the advancing North Vietnamese Army. 

Forty years later we speak with some of those adoptees about their lives, and with adoptive parents and veterans who were involved in this major turning point.

Our guests:

  • Greg Hodges, airlift adoptee who grew up in Cohocton, New York
  • Tia Keevil, airlift adoptee who is now a nurse in New York City
  • Lana Noone, adoptive parent who’s first adoptive daughter, Heather, passed away not long after arriving in the U.S.; her other daughter, Jennie, was the last baby placed through the Operation Babylift.
  • Sister Mary Nell Gage, was in Vietnam between 1973-75 and was stationed at the Presidio during Operation Babylift
  • Bill Terrell, a Vietnam veteran who helped rebuild an orphanage destroyed during the war when he was on active service 


WXXI and the Little Theatre Tuesday night showed a film documenting the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.

The screening of Last Days in Vietnam also provided local veterans such as Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch an opportunity to listen to one another.

"That's what those of us that came back from Vietnam...we didn't have that. We didn't have the community willing to let us talk."