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08.01.16 | GUSTO! Events | by Kay Champagne

    2017-2018 Gusto! Brochure

    Monday, September 11, 2017, 10 a.m.

    The Kontum Diary: A Soldier’s Road to Reconciliation
    Paul Reed, Vietnam War Veteran

    Paul Reed was young—just 19 years old—when he went to Vietnam with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade as an infantry soldier. It was a hard year for him and the other soldiers in his unit, one of extreme physical privation and fierce fighting. Eight of his buddies died in a major battle with North Vietnamese regulars in the mountains of South Vietnam’s Kon Tum Province.

    Reed, who was born and raised in Dallas, will relate the story about how his Vietnam tour affected his life when GUSTO! meets at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 11. He will describe how he returned home not the happy if slightly rebellious youth he had been, but an angry, restless soul. For 20 years he, like so many other returning soldiers, was tormented by post-traumatic stress disorder.

    After one battle, Reed happened upon a North Vietnamese soldier’s rucksack containing several items, including a small book. Reed sent the rucksack home and forgot about it. Twenty years later, the rucksack was resurrected, and the small book—a diary detailing an enemy soldier’s love of his country, family and fellow soldiers—set Reed on a journey of reconciliation.

    Reed’s experience was outlined in 1995 in an hour-long documentary, Kontum Diary, by Independent Television Service. It traced Reed’s Vietnam experience, homecoming, and search for the soldier whose diary he had found. The documentary earned several awards, including an Emmy. A sequel, Kontum Diary: The Journey Home, followed in 1997. Both films aired on PBS.

    A book, written with coauthor Ted Schwarz, called Kontum Diary: Captured Writings Bring Peace to a Vietnam Veteran, followed in 1997. It contains a foreword by Gen. William C. Westmoreland. In 2000 and again in 2001, CBS 48 Hours broadcast a shortened version of Reed’s story in a program called “The Fight to Forgive.”

    Reed earned a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Air Medal for his service and received Patriot of the Year awards for 2007, 2008 and 2009 from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He has recounted his story in several television interviews and as a speaker at churches and events. He lives in Dallas.

     “The Kontum Diary: A Soldier’s Road to Reconciliation” is free to the public and will be held at King of Glory Lutheran Church, 6411 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. Coffee is served at 9:45 a.m., the program is at 10, and a Q&A and reception follow. Friends are always welcome.

     

    Monday, September 25, 2017, 10 a.m.

    ‘Kontum Diary’ and ‘Kontum Diary: The Journey Home’
    Documentaries of Paul Reed’s Vietnam War Experience

    GUSTO! is going to the movies. On Monday, September 25, GUSTO! will screen a pair of films coproduced by Vietnam veteran Paul Reed about his war experience and a North Vietnamese soldier’s diary that finally brought him peace.

    The hour-long documentary, Kontum Diary, was produced by Independent Television Service in 1995. It traced Reed’s Vietnam experience, homecoming, and search for the soldier whose diary he had found. The documentary earned several awards, including an Emmy. A sequel, Kontum Diary: The Journey Home, followed in 1997. Both films aired on PBS.

    Reed, who coproduced both films, earned a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Air Medal for his service. He received Patriot of the Year awards for 2007, 2008 and 2009 from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He lives in Dallas.

    The screening of Kontum Diary and The Journey Home is free to the public and will be held at King of Glory Lutheran Church, 6411 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. Popcorn for all! Guests are always welcome.

    2017-2018 Gusto! Brochure

     

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