Welcome to In the Shadow of the Blade

Welcome!  In the Shadow of the Blade is a documentary film about the cross country flight of UH-1 “Huey 091″ which is now part of the Smithsonian American History “Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit.  The film started as an idea to take a restored Vietnam War Huey helicopter across America to find out who our Vietnam veterans are, and became that and something much, much more: a community where American veterans and their loved ones can share, connect, and enlighten the rest of us about what it was like to live in and with that war.

In the Shadow of the Blade sunset. Photo by Sarah Beal. (c) 2001

The ITSOTB community started with the documentary’s historic cross-country flight, as people came out to backyards and farmyards to answer the call of  those blades popping the air.  It was a mission that brought a level of healing and reconciliation that changed the lives of everyone who participated, including the crew.  What started as a film quickly took on a life of its own, as an ever-growing community followed the journey.

That community has expanded through the years as the movie has done its work.  In public screenings and in classrooms and in living rooms around the world, In the Shadow of the Blade and its iconic UH-1 Huey helicopter “091″ have  turned the lock of long-boxed up memories for thousands of Vietnam veterans, allowing families and school students and general audiences to turn to them with the awe they earned when they fought a far-away war that their nation had turned against.

If you are one of those veterans, thank you.  Thank you for serving, thank you for persevering, and thank you for coming here.  We hope you will join our ITSOTB family by sharing your story so that others may learn.  Welcome home.

If you are not a veteran, but have come here to learn, we welcome you as well.  Feel free to ask a question or post a tribute, or just to float around and listen.  Some of the greatest people in this country are the men and women who served in Vietnam, and we are honored to introduce you to them.

A couple of ground rules…An important part of what made ITSOTB work was our commitment from the beginning to stay away from politics.  Our emphasis is on the stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things when their country called them to do so.  There’s plenty of space in this world spent on political controversy and division; this isn’t one of them.  Please keep your comments and questions focused on education and tribute.  For those of you who aren’t veterans, please always remember that more than 58,000 American sons, husbands, brothers and friends laid down their lives in the Vietnam War.  For those who did come home – and for the loved ones of those who didn’t – this space where we gather to remember and discuss their war is sacred ground.  Your respect is expected.

Our newly remodeled website will, we hope, continue the conversation and expand our community, and provide all of us with opportunities to learn and connect.  And it will also be a place where we recount the ITSOTB experience as we move toward our ten-year anniversary celebration in early August, 2012.  So hop on board, strap in, and pull pitch with us as we continue the ride…In the Shadow of the Blade!