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The War on PBS

The War on PBS

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October 10, 2007

A Response to War

My comments on the Ken Burns series The War, received quite a response. As with the film itself, the people who responded gave personal anecdotes that tell the human story behind this living drama.

As USA Today so succinctly stated: “There are works of TV art so extraordinary all you can do is be grateful.”

 One part of his series again tonight on PBS.

From J.M.: Thirty-some years after the war my father came to visit me and for the first time opened up to tell me some of his experiences there. It was hidden all those years. He said he was the only one in his platoon that lived. I would joke with him that the reason he lived was because I had to be born! My sister and I talked about this yesterday and regretted that we didn't do more for him. I grew up with his yelling at night, "running" in his sleep in bed and even jumping out of bed. We didn't understand post traumatic war stress. My father was a known jokester but had another side that withdrew and cut others off. War is the closest thing to hell.

From D.S.: It is life changing to view this. You feel shame, sadness, pride and wonder!  My dad was in Italy and should have been dead three different times.  In one instance his whole platoon was wiped out except for him and his Sergeant...  He has some amazing stories.  Guess God wanted my sister and me to be born!

From S.C.: In light of the fact that most of the brain-dead kids today think history started this morning at 6:30 am, it is a good wake-up call.

From D.B.: REALLY moving documentary.  What has happened to this world?  It’s so out of whack compared to life back then.

From J.W.: My uncle (whom I never met) was murdered in the Bataan march. When those scenes were shown, through tears I watched and said, “I wonder if any of these men is Uncle Vernon.” 

From D.R.: My wife and I both made comments on them being the “Greatest Generation” and found it extremely evident in the faces of the men and women.  The still photos conveyed strong men of conviction.  “Real” men, as my wife put it, not men of mere words but men of rugged mind and strength of heart!

From R.G.: One of my uncles married a girl from Normandy after WWII, and when she first came to America after the war, she would become so terrified when it thundered that she would scream.  It took her a long time to get over the fear.

From R.R.: As a result of your exhortation to watch The War, I tuned in over the weekend and, like you, was hooked.  The unity that was ours in the U.S. was amazing.  Rosie the Riveter, victory gardens etc...  My mom grew up in England during WWII.  I grew up hearing the stories, many miraculous in nature, of how the LORD protected them. 

From M.V.:  My dad who died last year at the age of 81 was a veteran who received the bronze star for his courageous action on the island of Bouganville in the Solomon islands. He fought in New Caledonia and in the Philippe islands... I have watched it every night with a keen interest in ascertaining a part of who I am and what a legacy my dad helped in leaving for me and my kids.

From D.M.: I have been hooked as well. I am always deeply impressed by the amazing courage shown by those who were in harms way. Also, in one segment, a soldier talked about how no one could really protect against death or injury by preparation or positioning themselves somehow or somewhere. This was life being lived out on the edge. This must have been an amazing mindset and experience to have only momentary control of your life and have life be so fragile.

From J.P.: Nice thoughts... Freedom is not free.


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