A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Children of Vets

War doesn't only affect those who fight. Among many others, it affects families and children back home. We've pulled together one dozen of our best stories about the impacts of the Vietnam War on children of veterans. The stories bring out a mixture of emotions  –  conflict, forgiveness, pride, gratitude, understanding.
We hope you enjoy exploring the collection.

Two young women sitting cross-legged, looking at something on the floor in front of them.

Having grown up as an Air Force brat, Kim Stenehjem didn't always feel at home in the anti-war movement.

Contemporary photo of an older Asian gentleman in a chair with a boom microphone positioned nearby.

Filmmaker Kang Vang is a leader in the Hmong community, using film to shed light on his father and the Secret War.

A mannequin in a uniform holding the hand of a shorter alien figure in a white space suit, posed in front of a Roswell City Limits sign.

When Justin Florey's father passed, Justin began to find clues – but no real answers – as to his father's time in Vietnam.

About a dozen Asian children lined up for a photo.

As a child growing up on the Laotian military base of Long Tieng, Lee Pao Xiong's backyard was literally a warzone.

A young man with his helmet in his hands, standing in front of a sandbag bunker.

Nora McInerny learned more than expected about her late father after attending a Recon Marines reunion in 2016.

A shirtless soldier with a wide grin on his face; two other smiling soldiers are in the background.

Jayne Spado holds her father's memories and stories dear, including this slide show set to music he recorded at base camp.

A contemporary photo of an older gentleman holding an infant, with a younger man with his arm around him.

Martin Caraway followed in his father's footsteps and remains committed to advocating for veterans' rights and benefits.

A stern-looking soldier looks at the camera while a fellow soldier fills his backpack.

Linda McBrayer was only 3 months old when she lost her father. A phone call nearly 4 decades later led her down a path of forgiveness.

A photo of a young Asian man in uniform, posing for a photo.

Kou Xiong regrets not asking his dad about his experience before he passed away. Luckily, it's not too late to ask his mom.

A soldier with a cigarette, cooking over a pot in a kitchen.

Cami Stenquist developed a deeper relationship with her dad after he asked a favor of her during a trip to D.C.

Contemporary portrait of a middle-aged Asian man in glasses and a black cap.

Though Hoeun Hach had a carefree childhood, he rarely ever saw his father, who was fighting alongside the CIA in Cambodia.

An illustration of an older man and a younger woman looking at one another and facing the Vietnam Wall.

Hannah Campbell interviewed her dad, Tom Geerdes, about his long healing process after the war and the changes he underwent.

If you yourself are the child of a veteran, we encourage you to ask them about their experience. And if you happen to record an interview, we'd love to hear it!

A free and easy-to-use tool is the StoryCorps app, which walks you through interviewing, recording, and submitting an oral history interview to the Library of Congress archives.

Biographical Details

Story Subject: Family

Story Themes: Allied Forces, Art, Cambodia, Cami Stenquist, Children of Veterans, Children of Vets, Curtis Gruetzmacher, Family, Hannah Campbell, Hmong, Hoeun Hach, Jayne Spado, Justin Florey, Kang Vang, Kim Stenehjem, Kou Xiong, Lee Pao Xiong, Linda McBrayer, Look, Martin Caraway, Music, Nora McInerny, Paul Vang, Secret War, SGU, Stephen McInerny, Steve McInerny, Stories on a Theme, Storycorps, Tom Geerdes, Xai Nou Vang

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