After successfully building the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The New York Vietnam Veterans Commission wanted to further publicize all of the amazing letters they had received during their search for the Memorial. They decided to edit the letters into the publication of the best-selling book, Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. In all, 208 letters written home by 125 soldiers were chosen for inclusion. The book “Dear America” was instantly met with universal critical acclaim.
Garnering the attention of the senior brass at HBO television, the book was quickly produced into a two-time Emmy Award & Peabody Award-winning movie of the same name.This was a turning point. Finally, the service of Vietnam Veterans was beginning to garner the recognition Scott and his Commission had sought and had fought so desperately to achieve.
In making the Dear America movie, such Hollywood luminaries as Robert DeNiro, Willem Dafoe, Ellen Burstyn, Tom Berenger, and Harvey Keitel, Robin Williams, Martin Sheen, Kathleen Turner, Sean Penn, and Robert Downey volunteered their voices for the onscreen reading of the letters. Foregoing their typical royalties, top music industry artists and groups, including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, the Doors, Credence Clearwater Revival, and the Rolling Stones donated their recordings for the film’s background music.
“Dear America” Director Bill Couturie produced and directed a separate documentary feature about the making of the Dear America movie, that was later nominated for an Academy Award. Dear America, the film, was released theatrically on 49 screens in the United States. HBO officials estimate over 70 million people have viewed the film.
Today, the book Dear America and the Dear America movie can be purchased on Amazon and both are used to teach American war history in public schools nationwide.
Continue Reading The Heritage of Veterans Advantage: Part 5, Veterans Advantage is Founded