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Ken Burns’ Vietnam series significant to all

POSTED September 8, 2017 1:52 p.m.

Dear Editor,

Ken Burns has a new series coming on PBS-TV about the Vietnam War, 10 episodes scheduled for Sept. 17-21 and 24-28. I especially recommended it because my friend Jill Hunting’s story of her civilian brother’s life and death in Vietnam is included.
Jill lost her only brother, Pete, in Vietnam, and spent many years, decades later, seeking the story of what he did in Vietnam and how he was killed, resulting in her outstanding book, “Finding Pete: Rediscovering the Brother I Lost in Vietnam” (2009). Jill was 15 years old when her brother was killed by the Viet Cong in November 1965.
Pete Hunting was one of the first U.S. civilians to be killed in the war, and his death received national attention. His mother, in her grief, refused to talk about the loss and told her daughters that Pete’s letters had been lost. The daughters found the letters in 2003, and Jill made two trips to Vietnam to seek what had happened to Pete.
Pete was a humanitarian and idealist who joined International Voluntary Services (similar to the Peace Corps) and helped rural communities in Vietnam to deal with their harsh life. After the war began, he was killed because he was an American.
For Jill, what he did and how he died remained a mystery for some 40 years, and she details the story of the search for her brother and what happened to him. The result is an intriguing story, very personal but also significant to all of us. For a brief introduction to Jill’s story, see Jill and Pete Hunting’s story will appear in the second episode of the PBS series, Sept. 18. I hope you are watching, too.

Leo E. Oliva


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