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Why First Coast High is showing new FCN Vietnam documentary to its students

Principal Justin Fluent believes in giving his students the best opportunities possible to see history come alive.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — "My grandfather and two uncles served in Vietnam," explain First Coast High principal, Justin Fluent.  "That's my personal connection," he says.

He's still quite proud of his grandfather's service in the war. He says Charles Arthur Fluent was a Navy Petty Officer First Class. Now he's in his early 90's, Fluent says, and "his health is failing from the effects of Agent Orange."

But, Fluent says, he learned high values of determination from his grandfather that influence his career to this day.

Now Fluent is preparing a special day for his students to learn about the Vietnam War.

"Those lasting impacts are what we are looking for in education," Fluent says.

He has invited First Coast News to come to the auditorium and show their new documentary, Voices of Bravery - Honoring the Veterans of Vietnam. 

His staff and students are also planning a ceremony to welcome Vietnam veterans from the community.

The NJROTC members will present the colors and students will bring homemade signs saying "WELCOME HOME" to the veterans, most who endured ridicule and terrible treatment when they came back to the U.S. some 50 years ago.

Credit: Principal FCN Fluent's grandfather -- Vietnam veteran

And, perhaps best of all, the students will get to interact with the Vietnam veterans. They can ask questions or just listen to these "walking, talking history books," as one of the vets described himself. 

Fluent says a similar event made a huge impact at his school several years ago. First Coast News brought WW2 veterans and showed its WW2 documentary to an auditorium packed with students. 

"Even to this day, we have kids talk with me about this.  I still have kids communicate with me who've already graduated. They say it's one of the most impactful things they have ever done and experienced," Fluent says. 

History teachers Alexa Caron and Eric Van Gundy are teaching about the Vietnam War right now in their classrooms.  They say the students are asking great questions about the conflict, such as, "Why were we there?" and "Why did we fight in this war?" 

They both says they're "excited" for the special day so their students can see history "come alive."

If you want to see the new First Coast News documentary, "Voices of Bravery --Honoring the Veterans of Vietnam" just text the word VIETNAM to 904-633-2402.  You'll be linked to a version with NO commercials.

If you'd like First Coast News to come to your group or school for a special Vietnam War event with veterans and the documentary, just email Jeannie Blaylock.    jblaylock@firstcoastnews.com

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