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Embracing Our Military: Debuts Last Days in Vietnam A True Community Partnership


Submitted by Veterans Funeral Care, a division of Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory

Dedicated to never forgetting the sacrifices of our active military and veterans who have served on the behalf of all Americans, Embracing Our Military is a true community partnership under the leadership of WQPT Quad Cities Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The essence of this community initiative is to promote existing resources, and build community support for military families.

Tuesday, May 12th, marks one such amazing event that only a collaboration of this magnitude can produce. In recognition of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Embracing Our Military  will host a pre-broadcast screening of a riveting new documentary, The Last Days of Vietnam, already nominated for an Academy Award ®. This documentary was directed and produced by the daughter of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, Rory Kennedy. It is a free event with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. at CityView Celebrations at Trimble Pointe, 701 12th Street, Moline, IL. More information can be obtained by calling WQPT at 309-764-2400.

The “Last Days in Vietnam” screening event will feature local Vietnam veteran and author of “Abandoned in Hell,” Bill Albracht, as a guest speaker. During the evening attendees will preview key segments of this documentary which highlight critical moments of April, 1975. During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese army closed in on Saigon, the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the few U.S. diplomats and military operatives, still in the country, contemplated withdrawal. With the lives of thousands of South Vietnamese hanging in the balance, those in control faced an impossible choice — who would go and who would be left behind to face brutality, imprisonment, or even death. The film highlights the stories of unlikely heroes who attempted to save as many South Vietnamese as possible at the Vietnam War’s end.

Rory Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. Kennedy’s films cover an array of issues ranging from poverty to politics to human rights. Her work has been shown on PBS, HBO, A&E, MTV and Lifetime.

Following the screening, William Albracht, will share his reflections on the Vietnam era. Bill Albracht was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. After graduating from Alleman Catholic High School in 1966, he joined the U.S. Army. Bill attended Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1967 at the age of 19. He spent his commissioned career in the United States Army Special Forces, commonly referred to as the “Green Berets.” At age 21, he was the youngest captain to command combat troops during the Vietnam War. As the recipient of three Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars, as well as other awards for combat valor, Bill is one of the most highly decorated veterans in the state of Illinois.

Embracing Our Military
The Embracing Our Military initiative highlights the Quad Cities’ community-wide commitment to care for and support service members, veterans, Department of Defense civilians, defense contractors, and their families. Local funding has been provided by UnityPoint Health Trinity and RIA Credit Union with national funding provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Regional Collaborative partners, like Veterans Funeral Care, are working cooperatively with WQPT, the Rock Island Arsenal, and local service members, veterans, and their families to connect our active and retired military to local programs and services.

Program goals include: raising the Quad Cities’ rank as a top-50 military community; increasing the number of veterans connecting with local resources; raising the visibility of the military community at the Rock Island Arsenal in the greater Quad Cities area; and, reducing the unemployment rate for Quad City veterans.

The initiative, which launched in 2014 and will continue through 2015, has been implemented through on-air programming, events, and collaborations with like-minded organizations. Public media tells stories that help communities understand the veteran experience. Additional local support can be found through groups like Hooah! Quad Cities, Veterans Crisis Line, Military Families Near and Far, USO, and Jason’s Box. Links to all of these support groups can be found online at www.wqpt.org/military.

Veterans Funeral Care is a division of Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory, Moline. Exclusive to Veterans Funeral Care, the Veterans Funeral Plan™ offers veterans and their spouses a dignified, yet affordable option for funeral services. It has been endorsed by the Illinois Department of the American Legion. For more information call 309-764-VETS.