Columbia College to screen new Vietnam War documentary

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JEFFERSON CITY- KMOS-TV will host a preview screening of the new Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary, "The Vietnam War," on Thursday.

The screening will be held at Columbia College in Bixby Lecture Hall and will be followed by a panel discussion. 

The panel will consist of a local group of veterans, including veterans who actually served in the Vietnam War.

The veterans on the panel come from the Columbia College Veterans and Military Office, Truman VA Hospital and the Jefferson City Veterans Council.

The event will last about two hours, with one hour dedicated to the documentary and an hour dedicated to the panel.

Randy Burke, Assistant Director at Columbia College, said although he was excited for the event, he had an initial fear of protest from the community.

"I'm a retiree for the U.S Airforce, so I was concerned about what the community might think about the event," Burke said. "But KMOS felt like enough time had passed that those who may have had ill feelings about the Vietnam War would be ok."

Josh Tomlinson, General Manager and Director of Broadcasting Services for KMOS-TV, said the documentary's objectivity should go over well with the audience.

"I didn't have any specific fears about airing the documentary or anyone's feeling about it because when you watch it you'll see that it doesn't pick one side, it covers the many many sides that are part of it and we try to do that with our panels as well," said Tomlinson. 

Nicole Hume, Development Manager at KMOS wrote a $10,000 grant that WETA-TV in association with Florentine Films approved to fund the screenings. 

"We're considered a small station. We're a very small PBS station and they wanted to ensure that the grants were available not only to large stations, but small stations alike," said Tomlinson.

KMOS-TV hosted the same screening and panel when the documentary was first released June 30 at the University of Central Missouri, as well as Wednesday night at Lincoln University.

According to Tomlinson, those universities were instrumental in the success of the screenings.

The full documentary will premiere on PBS Sunday, September 17 and run for 10 episodes.