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1969: Fortunate Sons (Season finale airs Tues 28 May on ABC)



“Fortunate Sons” traces the roots of the American culture wars to a time 50 years ago when the nation was increasingly prosperous and increasingly divided. The question of what America owed the world and its own people was hotly debated as the gap between the generations grew. In 1969, as President Richard Nixon battled a growing anti-war movement, TV shows like “Hee Haw” and “Lawrence Welk” promoted small-town values, while other shows like “That Girl” and “The Brady Bunch” challenged ideas about what a family and what being female should look like. In the same period, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged Bed-Ins for Peace and young TV stars like Marlo Thomas attended anti-war rallies. “Fortunate Sons” airs TUESDAY, MAY 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, and will be available streaming and on demand.

In 1969, as millions of young Americans turned 18 and were eligible for the draft for the first time, parents and their young adult children were at odds over what it meant to be American. Were the hippies waving Viet Cong flags the real patriots, or was it the “silent majority” who voted Richard Nixon into office and supported the war effort? Where did that leave the young men returning from the war – the drafted and the volunteers – who were changed forever by what they had seen?

“Fortunate Sons” explores the growing divide in the nation that year, along with the journey of three U.S. soldiers, including Tiney Corbett Jr., a young African American soldier who braved enemy fire for $75 a day while seeing fellow soldiers waving confederate flags; Dan Millians, a helicopter pilot from Georgia, who enlisted out of high school and ended up rescuing Vietnamese civilians during one of the most infamous massacres in American military history; and a young John Kerry, who volunteered after graduating from Yale, but became a leading opponent of the war after his service. In a new interview, Pat Buchanan, Nixon’s youthful media advisor, describes life inside the White House in 1969. He and Kerry would go on to battle one another for decades. “Fortunate Sons” also examines the massacre at My Lai, where American soldiers were found to have slaughtered old men, women and children, and that ultimately changed popular sentiment about the war itself.

The series director and executive producer is Jeanmarie Condon for Lincoln Square Productions.

Airdate: Tuesday 28 May 2019 at 10.00pm on ABC.