June 29, 1966: A platoon of American soldiers is outnumbered ten to one in the jungles of Vietnam. This will be the darkest moment of their lives, if they survive.
Now: Those that walked away explain how life would never be the same again.
My Father’s Brothers is a journey to understand what filmmaker Shawn Kelley’s father and seven survivors went through then and keep going through now.
Whether they volunteered or were drafted, each of them has had to deal with the cards life dealt in their own way. Some of them have even returned to Vietnam in the hopes of somehow coming to terms with their past.
Shawn’s father was one of the ones that volunteered. As he made it to the rank of captain, he routinely led his company of 140 men on patrols through the jungles of Vietnam. On that fateful June 29th, he recieved orders to spread out too far and stumbled upon a better supplied and manned outpost of Vietcong forces.
While this battle usn’t well known, it is an integral part of these men’s lives. As they went their separate ways after the war, they discovered that they would come together to find ways to make the past make more sense, if that is ever possible.
Kelly explained how the origin of the movie was very simple. In fact, it started on a long car ride. “My 83-year-old dad rarely talked about his time in Vietnam. Since I had a few hours with him alone in the car, I decided to ask a lot of questions. And I found out there was a lot about my dad’s past I didn’t know.”
The film also highlights Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Charles B. Morris, a paratrooper that went above and beyond the call of duty to protect his platoon on that day.
I really enjoyed this film because it presents a moment in history that would be lost if not for that car ride and the drive for Kelley to make this film, one that highlights not only his father, but the men who found themselves in the midst of a situation that would define every moment of the rest of their lives.
My Father’s Brothers is available on demand and on DVD from Passion River.