Documentary on SC Vietnam vets, In Their Own Words, made by students to premiere at annual Welcome Home to Carolina Celebration

October 28, 2016                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact: (843) 582-2794

Documentary on SC Vietnam vets, In Their Own Words, made by students to premiere at annual Welcome Home to Carolina Celebration

In Their Own Words, a documentary featuring the oral histories of local SC Vietnam veterans and made by the student program Team Backpack Journalists, will have its world premiere on November 12, 2016 at the Welcome Home to Carolina Celebration in Columbia, SC,  at the Bluff Road location of the  South Carolina National Guard.

The Team Backpack Journalists, 6th to 11th grade students from the Charleston area, along with producer Linda Dennis and parent volunteers, traveled throughout the state collecting 24 hours of oral histories from Vietnam veterans who served in all branches of the Armed Forces.  Edited by noted Hollywood industry expert Diane Louie and featuring her original score and sound design, the piece includes highlights of these interviews with the Vietnam veterans for the students’ ongoing oral histories project.

The film is part of a larger grant-funded project which eventually will include a kiosk in the SC Military Museum containing all oral history recordings as well as the documentary.

“The connection to this younger generation was an opportunity for the Vets to share their experience without judgement or a political agenda, which is why I believe the results are so powerful and ‘real’,” says parent volunteer Katie Buhr. “It was surprising how honest and comfortable the Vets were with the kids, and that they too found their ‘voice’ that most had kept silent for decades.”

Seven Team Backpack Journalist students (who participate in the After School and Filmmakers programming held at the City of Charleston Parks and Recreation Centers) were trained in interviewing and active listening skills. Each interview session followed a modified format provided by the Library of Congress. Each student spent time studying the Vietnam Conflict. Throughout the process, parents often attended the sessions and listened as their student engaged in a personal, emotional interview that began with “Welcome home and thank you for your service”.

The Team Backpack Journalist organization plans to screen In Their Own Words throughout the state of South Carolina, as well as via the American in the Arts program, and the National Arts and Health for the Military Initiative.


Team Backpack Journalist/Steam Ed Publishing:   Scholastic Journalism curriculum includes writing, photography, and film making for youth. Oral History Project for Vietnam Veterans sponsored by Gregory Electric, SC Military Museum Foundation, Operation First Response, and American Legion Post 28 and Diane Louie ( and Linda Dennis. The Defense Credit Union Council, an association of credit unions “Serving Those Who Serve Our Country,” is a proud sponsor of the A Backpack Journalist youth reporters.

( / & @backpackjrnlist/teambackpackjournalists)

SC Military Museum: The mission of the South Carolina Military Museum is to honor and chronicle the Palmetto State’s military history from 1670, when the colony of Carolina was first founded, to present-day operations worldwide.    Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina, admission is always free as the Museum welcomes Veterans, active military personnel, and civilians alike to explore the warriors and battles that helped shape State as well as national history.