A new documentary chronicles the experiences of several Latino Vietnam veterans, who made up 20% of the casualties in that war but were only 10% of the U.S. population at the time. The documentary seems to serve as a word of caution as we proceed into a future with more Latino veterans from the current two wars being fought by the U.S. “As Long As I Remember: American Veteranos” was made by Laura Varela, who according to her website:
is a San Antonio-based documentary filmmaker and media artists whose work as a storyteller is shaped by her roots growing up on the US/ Mexico Border in El Paso, Texas. Her work navigates between ideological, cultural, linguistic and physical borders through the use of film and contemporary art installations.
The documentary itself, according to a synopsis:
examines the steep personal toll and enduring legacy of the Vietnam War on three artists from south Texas: visual artist Juan Farias, author Michael Rodriguez and actor/poet Eduardo Garza. Through the personal histories and experiences of these Chicano veterans, the film examines the role art plays in the sorting of memories, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), activism and the current conflict in Iraq. AS LONG AS I REMEMBER chronicles their upbringing in the Mexican-American community, their military service in Vietnam, and their lives after the war. Farias, Rodriguez and Garza’s poignant and powerful recollections illuminate the minority experience in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps at a time when Mexican Americans accounted for approximately 20 percent of U.S. casualties in Vietnam, despite comprising only 10 percent of the country’s population.
Here’s the trailer:
We’ve written before about Latino casualties in Vietnam, whether Latinos are included in documentaries about the war and how other Latino projects are working to include Latino vets in the history of Vietnam.
Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD.