Detroit Public Television/Ch. 56 and PBS will honor the nation’s Veterans with special primetime programming for Veterans Day and Veterans Week. We want to tell veterans’ stories of service and let veterans know about veterans-related programs, information and resources. Learn more by visiting DPTV’s Veterans Coming Home website.
This week’s veterans programming includes:
Navy SEALs – Their Untold Story
Monday, November 9th at 10:00 P.M. ET
Narrated by Gary Sinise, Navy Seals – Their Untold Story recounts the ticking-clock missions of the “Commandoes of the Deep” through firsthand accounts — including that of a D-Day demolition team member — and through never-before-seen footage, home movies and personal mementoes. Admirals, master chiefs, clandestine operators, demolitioneers and snipers all reveal how U.S. Navy SEALs morphed into the SEALs: specialists in Sea, Air, and Land combat.
Throughout the storied history examined in the film, the Navy SEALs accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. For this willingness to take extreme risks, many SEALs have been awarded the U.S. Armed Services’ highest honor, the Medal of Honor.
Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comrades
Tuesday, November 10th, at 8:00 P.M. ET
The captivating film takes viewers back to 1945 when these men first met. 90,000 combatants on an 8-square mile island. A dot in the Pacific Ocean just 650 miles from Tokyo. 28,000 men died either defending or taking this rock. Now, in 2015, men who lost so much make the emotional pilgrimage back to face the defining moment of their lives.
The Reunion of Honor was founded by Lt. General Lawrence Snowden, USMC (Ret.) — so that veterans from both sides could return to Iwo Jima — this time in peace. Despite being wounded twice during brutal combat, Snowden has sought friendship with his former enemies since the war’s end.
Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded on Iwo Jima — more than any other WWII battle. Only one recipient is still alive: Hershel “Woody” Williams.Over a four-hour period, alone in what the Marines called “The Killing Zone,” the Marine corporal single-handedly destroyed at least seven Japanese gun emplacements with his flamethrower. This was his first trip back in seven decades.
Army Air Corps P-51 fighter pilot Jerry Yellin absolutely hated the Japanese. He blamed them for killing 16 close friends during the war, for attacking Pearl Harbor and for the years he wanted to kill himself after the war. But then, his youngest son married the daughter of a former kamikaze pilot, and now Yellin has three half-Japanese grandchildren whom he cherishes. His is a story of war and transformation.
Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History
Tuesday, November 10th, at 9:00 P.M. ET
As advances in field medicine markedly reduce the number of deaths in the battlefield, increased numbers of veterans are coming home with severe injuries. These soldiers carry both visible and invisible scars of war, and their readjustment back into civilian life is often complicated by the psychological trauma and physical wounds sustained in battle. Today, with the United States fighting the longest war in its history, it has become imperative to create a bridge between civilians and soldiers, forging ties with the 1 percent of Americans who comprise the nation’s military.
Debt of Honor seeks to understand the societal perception of soldiers and the wars they fight, exploring the repercussions of the growing divide between civilians and those who serve. Above all, it seeks to build a new bridge between military and civilian cultures in the United States, to inspire an important dialogue about how Americans treat their veterans, and to impart a message of compassion and mutual understanding.
Independent Lens: Stray Dog
Tuesday, November 10th, at 11:00 P.M. ET
From Debra Granik, director of the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone, comes this portrait of a motorcycle-riding, freedom-loving, Vietnam veteran cast in the mold of an outlaw biker. But there’s much more to burly, bearded Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall than meets the eye. Below the surface, Stray Dog is forever wrestling with the brutal legacy of the Vietnam War — a constant struggle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness.
The film, shot with humility and grace, follows Stray Dog as he caravans on his Harley with fellow vets to pay tribute to their fallen brothers at the Vietnam Memorial. Meanwhile, back home in southern Missouri where he owns and operates an RV Park populated by a community on the margins, he forges a new life of domesticity with his Mexican wife Alicia.
Whether on the motorcycle trek or back home, Alicia goes along for the ride, navigating her own path through an unfamiliar world. As Stray Dog battles his demons and faces the pressure of running a business, the arrival of Alicia’s twin teenagers from Mexico further complicate matters. Stray Dog teaches the boys to be patient as they adjust to the quiet isolation of the hardscrabble Midwest, not to mention the meaning of certain American slang words their mother wouldn’t appreciate.
As Stray Dog strives to be the man he wants to be for his family and community, he continues to tally the cost of war, bearing witness to the soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan — both the dead and the living.
Detroit Performs: Veterans Art
Last year, DPTV produced a special episode of its arts and culture series, Detroit Performs, which focused on honoring our war heroes. In the episode, a group of students at Navigator Elementary School and their creative project showed their support for veterans and their service dogs; model maker Sean Tracy used his skills to honor those who have served our country; and photographer Jennifer Karady‘s exhibition Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan evoked the psychology of life after war. Plus, host DJ Oliver took viewers to The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum at Fort Wayne in Detroit.
Watch the full episode here: http://bit.ly/1kcSNeN
The image above is a photograph taken on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2015 by Roy Feldman. The image focuses upon a man in uniform who attended Veterans Day memorial services at historic Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit. He wears insignia of the historic 10th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, a unit that served and fought in the Civil War. In the background are the graves of men and women who have served in armed forces, marked by flags of the United States. An Honor Guard and others participating in the day’s events in remembrance of the nation’s veterans stand beyond.