Clark for President - "American Son" 

15-minute movie to run twice back to back every Tuesday night on WNDS-TV at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, 2004.

Produced by Linda Bloodworth; also produced by Linda Burstyn, Cathee Weiss and Douglas Jackson. The film was edited by Gregg Featherman. 

Notes and Observations:  According to the January 4, 2004 press release, "Produced by award-winning producer Linda Bloodworth, 'American Son' is about the life and times of Wes Clark.  This moving account features Clark's family, life-long friends and the men and women who served under his command.  It details Clark's accomplishments and tells the story of this true American hero."  The release also noted that, "The New Hampshire Clark campaign is distributing copies of the 'American Son' DVD to 50,000 New Hampshire households in the mail and through its door-to-door canvassing efforts."  The film ran 18 min. 2 sec so the TV version was edited down.  Below is the full version.
Transcript of the first 9 minutes.  Audio:

[Martial Music] Clark (in uniform speaking at a ceremony):  I'll continue to remember one of my best friends at Oxford, a fellow West Pointer.  We stayed up late one night in December of 1967 discussing life and death and Vietnam and we finally came down to the old adage, if there's nothing worth fighting and dying for, then maybe there's nothing worth living for.

Thirty three years later I think there's still a lot of truth in that.  I happen to believe there is a lot working living for, and therefore there's a lot worth fighting for, and we're going to continue to do just that.

Piano music. [still photos of Clark campaigning]

Wesley Clark II:  When I think of everything he's done in his life, the thing that always strike me is he's a true believer in this country in a way that's almost like a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" kind of aw shucks, gee-whiz way, but that's really who he is and it's really how he thinks and so he runs understanding the value of every individual person.

He's an optimist.  He believes people are ultimately good, and that they want to do the right thing.  He leads by example.

My father was born in 1944 to what at that time was considered a mixed marriage.  My grandfather was second generation American Russian Jew and my grandmother was from Arkansas and born and bred in this country so it's about as multicultural as you could have gotten in 1944.

Wesley Clark:  My father was a tremendous influence in my life.  He had a huge warm personality and he read to me every night; he bought me a present every Saturday.  And then one night he read to me and I woke up in the middle of the night and there were a lot of adults in the apartment.  They kept me from going to the bedroom.  That was the night he died.

Then we moved to Little Rock and my mother had to go back to work, and my grandmother and granddad took care of me.

Mary Campbell, cousin:  Wesley had great big dark eyes.  He had a sweet smile.  And I think the people, especially the adults, they just melted when they saw him because he had a darling personality.

Wally Loveless, childhood friend:  Wesley was four years older when we lived in the same neighborhood.  He included me when others didn't and that was alway--you know I loved him for that.  There was a kindness that he had that wasn't evident in a lot of the kids in the neighborhood.

Wesley Clark:  My mother re-married when I was in 5th grade so at that point I had a father again.  We went fishing, we went shooing every single weekend.  We'd go up to the top of the lake, fish for croppy; find the [inaud. word] in the springtime.  It was a great life.

Mary Campbell:  When he was a child he did not have much, none of us did.  By today's standards I think that some people would say we were probably poor.

Wesley Clark:  My mother was a secretary in the bank and she would take me upstairs and she would take me around and say, this is my son.  And she was very proud of me, she introduced me, she taught me how to meet people, and she set high standards.

Minnie Lee Mayhan, former high school guidance counselor:  The students respected him and the teachers admired him.  He was sensitive to other people's feelings and he led his class in most everything.

Phillip H. McMath, childhood friend:  Wesley was probably the best swimmer I ever saw.  If he'd really devoted his life to it he could have been at the Olympic level.  We had a statewide meet in which we had to swim an individual medley relay.  We were a man short and the officials assumed we would forfeit.  And Wesley Clark said, we're not forfeiting.  And they said, why not.  And he said, I'll swim two events.  We wound up to the surprise of everyone winning the state championship, but what people didn't understand is we had the best swimmer in the state in Wesley Clark.

Wesley Clark:  I sort of had in mind to be an astronaut, but then my eyes went bad on me in my junior year in high school, and I went to American Legion Boys State and it was a West Point cadet there and he was wearing glasses.  And somebody asked him, can you wear glasses at West Point?  And he said, yes.  I remember walking outside and telling one of my friends, that's it.  I'm going to West Point.

What I remember is being out at Trophy Point, looking up the Hudson River and people raised their right hands and they took their oath.  It wasn't college.  We were in the United States Armed Forces.  My high school friends were still having a great summer and I had had my head shaved, I was being yelled at, and it was new cadet barracks.

Theodore P. Hill, West Point roommate:  Wes was very much respected intellectually at West Point.  You knew something special was happening when you walked into your--you were number one in mathematics class out of 800 people and you saw this guy sitting in the number one seat.  The same guy was the number one in advanced physics class, and you saw that guy sitting in the same seat in the English class, you knew there was some special person there.

Gert Clark:  Wes and I met at a dance in New York.  My father's secretary was a volunteer for the USO; it was a USO dance for midshipmen and West Point cadets.

Wesley Clark:  I looked over at the door and in came a couple of young ladies and one of them was very pretty.

Theodore P. Hill:  Everybody loved Gert.  She had a wonderful figure, she had a just very outgoing personality, and there was a lot of competition for Gert.

Wesley Clark:  I figured well I better get there first.

Gert Clark:  I liked him right away.  Hewas very different that the men, the young men I was used to dating.  He was far more intellectual, and in many ways far more innocent. 

Wesley Clark:  We were taught as cadets that it was one of the greatest things you could ever offer a girl was a chance to come to West Point for a weekend date.  And I said, well we're going to have a swimming team picnic next week up at West Point; would you like to come?  And she looked at me and she said, maybe.  She said I could call her.  And I was, well I was, a little bit, I was a little bit crushed by this, but intrigued.

Gert Clark:  We were married in Brooklyn, New York on June 24th 1967.  We had our reception at a naval base out by the water out in Queens and it was quite lovely.

Nancy Bekavac, President, Scripps College, friend and former colleague:  Right after Wes and Gert got married they went to England where he was a Rhodes Scholar.  Oxford was probably the most anti-military place in the English speaking world.  That's how they started their married life together.

Wesley Clark:  During the time I was at Oxford almost everybody in my class had gone to Vietnam.  We'd already had more than a dozen classmates killed, including my roommate.  My wife was, she was three months pregnant whe I left, and I kissed here goodbye and walked off.

Gert Clark:  I remember driving home and I almost had an accident because all I could think about was what would I ever do without him.

Wesley Clark:  It was the age of Aquarius, and there was rebellion in the sounds, but I think in the minds of at least those of us in the officer corps there was only duty, honor and country.

Brig. Gen. David Martin (Ret.) U.S. Army:  Wesley Clark was my "A" Company commander.  I was his immediate boss.  The day that Wes was wounded they had walked out into heavier jungle.

Wesley Clark:  And all of the sudden I heard a buzzing sound of hornets, and I realized that I'd been shot.

David Martin:  When I got above Wes in my helicopter, which again was like two minutes later, I'm looking down.  I could see Wes.  I could see also he wasn't lying down; he was standing up.  And I'm having this conversation with him and I'm looking at him; he's looking up at me. 

Wes Clark:  I was hollering to get the machine gun up and the rest of the platoon up.

David Martin:  And the last thing he was concerned with was himself.

Gert Clark:  The doorbell rang and it was the Western Union.  And I opened it up and I had Wes on my arms, and it said we're sorry to inform you that your husband has been seriously wounded.  It was the longest day and the longest night of my life.  [9 min. 3 sec.]