1966. On a bombing raid over North Vietnam, Air Force Captain Pete Peterson is shot down. He spends the next six years as a prisoner of war; his life an endless cycle of isolation, interrogation, and torture. Thirty-one years later. Douglas "Pete" Peterson returns to the land of his enemy -- voluntarily. He is the first U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam since the war -- and the first ever to Hanoi.

Today, Vietnam is no longer "a war"; it is a country of 80 million people, with a new generation eager to move on. And so is Pete Peterson. Here in Vietnam where his life almost ended, he has found the promise of renewal -- for his country, and for himself. His challenge is to convince others that the time for U.S.-Vietnamese reconciliation is now.

"I want to heal the wounds between the United States and Vietnam. It's a tragic history that we've shared as two peoples. No one can change that, but there is a great deal we can all do about the future. And that's why I'm in Vietnam."

For Pete Peterson: Assignment Hanoi, the production team followed the new ambassador for four months: from embassy briefings to remote mountain tops where forensic experts searched for American MIA remains; from a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop to Capitol Hill. What emerges is a portrait of Pete Peterson, the Vietnamese and their mutual efforts to mold a lasting relationship.

Pete Peterson: Assignment Hanoi was made possible in part by grants from PBS - Nike, Inc. - United Technologies - The Family of Mildred Wooden - The Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation - Cargill Limited Vietnam. A complete list of funders is available from PBS.

You may order Pete Peterson: Assignment Hanoi at ShopPBS

30 sec. QuickTime video (2.57Mb) - RealVideo

Scheduled to air on the eve of 25th anniverary of the end of the Vietnam War, watch one American's personal efforts to achieve a lasting reconciliation between the United States and Vietnam.

The Man: Peterson | The Country: Vietnam | The Mission: Reconciliation | The Program | Teacher's Notebook | Production Credits | Links | Site Index