The Vietnam War Memorial Dedication
to the Memory of Robert P. Gandil, Thomas J. Holden & Michael J. Macarell
was held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27, 2002 at Veterans Memorial Park
[Memorial Dedication Service] [Photos
Story Oct. 24, 2003]
September 12, 2003
From: Chad Jenkins and Mike Kane
Producers of the documentary film Recovering Satellites
Mike and I are pleased to welcome you to the
screening of Recovering Satellites, a documentary film that we have been working on for
nearly a year. Enclosed you will find an invitation to a private screening of the film, a
synopsis of the project, a brief biography about Mike and myself, as well as directions to
Wed like to apologize for this letter being
a broad and general cover letter. There were many people who were involved with this film,
either as an interview subject, a production assistant, a researcher, or someone who lent
their support in one capacity or another. While we wanted to personalize each and every
cover letter, time constraints proved to make that impossible. There are approximately 300
invitations being sent out and as I write this letter to you, we are currently finishing
the film. So, to all of you who have helped us with this film project, we thank you for
your time and assistance.
When we began this project last October 27th
by shooting the memorial service in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ for Thomas Holden, Michael
Macarell, and Robert Gandil, we had no idea that we would travel the country interviewing
many extraordinary people. The stories that supplemented each interview enriched not only
both of our lives, but have made, in our opinion, for a very compelling film. Yes, the
memorial and the events that lead to the passing of these three men do add an element of
sadness to the film, but there are also quite a few funny moments as well. Wed like
to stress that this is not a film for children of a young age. The subject matter is quite
mature and several scenes contain strong language.
This is an open invitation, meaning that you are
free to bring whomever you wish. There is a "kindly R.S.V.P." request at the
bottom of the invitation. This is to help the VFW post anticipate the number of guests.
However, it is not a requirement for attending the screening to call beforehand.
The master of ceremonies will be Dan Vecchio, the
man who arranged the memorial last October. Following the screening of the film, there
will be a question and answer session with Mike and myself.
We thank you receiving this invitation and hope
that you will attend.
About the Film:
In 1966, during the course of three months, commencing in October and ending in
December, three natives to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey: Thomas James
Holden, Michael Joseph Macarell, and Robert Gandil; lost their lives while serving their
country during the Vietnam War. On October 27, 2002, some thirty-six years later, the
Borough of Hasbrouck Heights gathered to dedicate a memorial to the three men, and pay
tribute to those heroes of war.
This dedication did much more
than honor these three men. It unintentionally reunited U.S. Servicemen who had not seen
each other since their tours in the Vietnam War. This documentary examines the events that
led up to this reunion and studies how the selfless tragedy of a mans death can
continue to affect the lives all those who knew him.
Through interviews with
relatives, friends, and the men who served with them, this documentary paints the picture
of three heroes and the lives they touched both before and during the war. Soldiers who
were there the day these men died share candid, first-hand accounts with sobering
frankness. Poignant moments of the Hasbrouck Heights memorial and observational material
capture the reunion and segue the two storylines seamlessly. Personal effects such as
pictures, letters, and publications accompany stock film footage to create a visual
passage back into that era of American history.
While our film commemorates the
service and the sacrifice these men made, one of the underlying texts is to dispel some of
the conventional and unfortunate stereotypes that envelop Vietnam Vets. This film
illustrates the surviving servicemen as decent, hard working men, who continue to raise
families, work within the communities in which they live, and ultimately reunite in
Hasbrouck Heights to pay their respect to a fallen soldier and a long lost friend. The
film takes no political stand for or against the Vietnam War.
At its core, this film is devoted
to the bond that these veterans formed while entrusting one another to protect their lives
and why they are compelled to continually honor those who died in the war.
About the Filmmakers
Chad Jenkins will graduate
with honors from the University of the Arts in December 2003. His first film, Sideman, paid
tribute to jazz legend, Mickey Roker, and was acquired by PBS station WYBE Channel 35 for
broadcast as part of the Philadelphia Stories 3 series. Chad also co-produced the
documentary, Priority 3, that studies issues of violence in the Philadelphia public
schools. That film is currently being considered for broadcast on PBS. Last fall, Jenkins
directed the play Topdog/Underdog for the Black Box Theater in Philadelphia. A long
time musician, he became interested in film while at college. This is his first
Mike Kane graduated with
honors from the University of the Arts in June 2002. He recently opened 11th
floor productions ©, a production house serving clients in the Washington D.C. area,
Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. Mikes last film, Prisoners, an
awareness-raising documentary for the disabled patrons of Philadelphia, won critical
acclaim last year. After debuting at the Connelly Theatre, the film was distributed
throughout the Philadelphia County Government, as well as the Pennsylvania State
Government. There, it continues to raise funding for the Adaptive Modifications Program, a
non-profit organization committed to aiding the impoverished disabled community. This is
his first feature-length documentary film.