Bill Bontemps' video

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Bill Bontemps' video

Postby Jim Sheppard » Wed Jan 03, 2024 6:24 pm

Former Charlie Company Infantryman and Battalion photographer Bill Bontemps has posted a brief memoir complete with many familiar photos on You Tube. View the story at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Rz0XfNbFQ
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Re: Bill Bontemps' video

Postby bbontemps » Sun Jan 07, 2024 1:15 pm

Thanks, Jim, for posting.

I feel this video is a closure for me. For so many years I tried to avoid and forget about Vietnam, but then came to realize that Vietnam would never go away. Telling my story is a way I have to open up, so I don’t have to keep all those memories, some horrible, kept up inside me. All those with whom I served have their own stories. We all saw and remembered things in a different way. I hope some of you will be able to tell your story. The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress is a good opportunity.

A special thanks to all those who made this video possible. It all started when Sandra Bontemps (sister-in-law) sent me words to a song she wrote. I then started selecting photos I shot during my tour, but realized that my story needed more than just words. That's where a long-time friend from church, Kirk Wessler, came into the picture. The Wessler family has always been strong into music, and recently, Kirk has been singing and playing guitar in clubs, so I asked him if he would be interested in writing and performing music for Sandra's words. His song and narration adds so much to help tell my story.

Then I needed to find a recording story. Patty, my wife, reminded me that our neighbor, Marquise Henderson, told us about adding a recording studio in the basement of his home. So I contacted Marquise, and he was happy to record Kirk’s song and narration.

Moving ahead, I knew what I wanted to produce, so I wrote my script, added copy, but now needed to find someone to edit. My background in movie production was in 16mm, old school, so I needed to find someone to finish edit my story. I talked to a couple friends who were willing to help, but decided to ask my nephew, Trent Siebenthal, who has his degree in film. He politely said that he’d be glad to finish edit my story.

So here it is. This is my journey as an infantryman and combat photographer during the war in Vietnam. I know Vietnam will always be a part of our lives.

A few years ago, I talked to students at Concordia Lutheran School in Peoria, Illinois, at a Veterans Day assembly and told part of my story. I told the students how important it is to thank veterans, so at the end of the assembly, the principal had all the fathers who were veterans to come to the front. Then students said the 5 words I told them to say, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. Afterwards, one father came up to me and said, “This is the first time anyone has ever thanked me for serving.”

Thank you for watching. Thanks to all of you for serving.
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