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Our Vietnam Voices

Our Vietnam Voices: Joe’s Story

A protester of the Vietnam War reflects.

July 14, 2017

Editor’s note: This KCTS 9 video is part of a larger series of local stories featuring people impacted by the Vietnam War. The promotional series is being produced in conjunction with the airing of The Vietnam War, a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, the first episode of which airs on Sept. 17, 2017 on KCTS 9.

Joe Kelly sayss his parents taught him to take a stance for his convictions. For him, that meant protesting the war in Vietnam.

Joe Kelly was raised to never be afraid to stand up and be counted — and to fight for what he believed in. In 1965, he joined the antiwar movement, believing that American political leaders had failed the people.

“The more I read, the more I realized we had no business telling the Vietnamese people what to do in their country,” says Kelly.

Kelly was one of thousands who joined protest marches in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. He also helped create the Seattle Liberation Front, which organized antiwar protests and addressed local issues of poverty, unemployment and racism.

“We wanted to create a movement that went beyond the college campus, to confront not just the war, but racism, unemployment and other issues that were important in Seattle at the time.”

For Kelly, it was important that he was on the right side of history. “The protestors today believe they are standing on the right side of history. And you know, that’s not a bad thing,” he says.


Charles Costanza

Charles is a 25-year veteran producer creating a wide range of broadcasting content including social media content, education, public affairs documentaries and live-action filmmaking. He has received several awards as a director, writer, videographer and editor. Charles grew up in Florida, Oregon and spent over 20 years living abroad in Australia. Costanza is a graduate of Washington State University and is a keen fly fisher (always catch-and-release!). More stories by Charles Costanza

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The timing of "Joe's Story"...both with the release of Ken Burns' Vietnam series as well as the current Trump administration's dangerous compelling.