In observance of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, public broadcasting – on-air, online and on the ground – is telling the stories of America’s veterans and embracing this opportunity to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
The programs listed below are just a few examples of the kind of quality programming that can only be found on public media – content that informs, educates and inspires us. Thanks to the federal investment in public broadcasting through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which local stations leverage to raise private dollars, it is content that can be accessed for free by all Americans. It is programming that – by design of Congress – treats viewers and listeners as citizens, not consumers. And like so much of the content found across public television and radio, on-air and online, it is programming that contributes to our civil society and is enjoyed by 170 million Americans every month.
As the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting, as well as the only entity that represents the breadth of the industry – public television, public radio, producers, local stations – CPB is pleased to share this summary with you.
All programming is Eastern Standard Time.
Thursday, November 10
At 8:00 PM, PBS honors Veterans Day a day early with the premiere of Vietnam War Stories (produced by Wisconsin Public Television). Three million Americans served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Veterans put away their uniforms and tried to put away their memories, but these are memories that cannot be put away. Vietnam War Stories shares these personal memories of service and sacrifice, and gives us insight into the experience of war.
At 9:00 PM, PBS Veterans Day content continues when POV presents Where Soldiers Come From. From a snowy, small town in northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan, this film follows the four-year journey of childhood friends who join the National Guard after graduating from high school. As it chronicles the young men’s transformation from restless teenagers to soldiers looking for roadside bombs to 23-year-old combat veterans trying to start their lives again, the film offers an intimate look at the young Americans who fight our wars, the families and towns they come from –and the way one faraway conflict changes everything.
Friday, November 11
Need to Know, a news program produced by WNET in New York and broadcast every Friday night on most public television stations across the country, will mark Veterans Day with an intimate look at three of the young Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans struggling to make the transition back into the civilian world and coming up short in making ends meet. Their stories illustrate the increasing numbers of young veterans falling into unemployment, underemployment, and eventually homelessness. Unemployment rates for young veterans have reached a staggering 26.9 percent, and these same vets made up nearly 13,000 of the nation’s homeless population last year.
Airing Throughout November (Check Local Listings)
American Public Television is distributing a number of programs to local stations highlighting the sacrifices and stories of American’s veterans, to be broadcast at a time chosen by each individual station. Among these programs:
- America's Veterans: A Musical Tribute, recorded in May 2011 at the Music Center at Strathmore, in Bethesda, MD, salutes the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Led by the United States Air Force Band, including “The Singing Sergeants” and a full orchestra, the 2011 lineup includes performances by chart-topping country singer Jo Dee Messina, renowned Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, Grammy- and Emmy-winning jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and So You Think You Can Dance winner Sabra Johnson. In addition to performances of popular songs and patriotic classics, U.S. Air Force Major General Darren W. McDew narrates moving tribute segments to heroes representing all five branches of the military. The honorees, seated in the audience, include Col. George “Bud” Day, the most highly decorated living American.
- Fly Boys: Western Pennsylvania’s Tuskegee Airmen tells the story of struggle and the ultimate triumph of the brave African-American soldiers who served their country during World War II. The film chronicles the “Tuskegee Airmen” program, a controversial military initiative designed to measure African-Americans' competence for flying the engines of war. This fascinating documentary features the stories of the more than 40 aviators from western Pennsylvania, including the pilots, navigators and bombardiers who flew fighter and bomber planes during the war, as well as the maintenance and support staff, instructors and personnel who kept the planes in the air. Produced by WQED in Pittsburgh, PA.
- A Gathering of Heroes. In 2004, the United States dedicated a long-awaited memorial to the 16 million men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II, the 400,000 who died in Europe and the Pacific and those who toiled in factories on the home front. A Gathering of Heroes recounts the touching and inspirational story of World War II veterans from Indiana who embarked on a cross-country trek to Washington, DC to visit the memorial which honors their sacrifice. On the 12-hour bus ride, the veterans (most of whom are in their 80s and 90s) reminisce about their war experiences, sharing their emotional tales of struggle and survival. Produced by WFYI in Indianapolis, IN.
- Korea - The Forgotten War in Colour. From the makers of the acclaimed “In-Colour” genre of documentaries, Stewart Binns and Adrian Wood, Korea - The Forgotten War in Colour tells the story of the Korean war through the powerful color imagery, dramatic musical score and soundscape that are the hallmarks of Binns’ and Wood’s productions.
- Sanibel to Siberia: The Story of a World War II Memorial pieces together a stirring and little-known story of friendship and cooperation. The film recounts the creation of the bronze sculpture erected to commemorate the secret 1941 Lend-Lease partnership between eventual Cold War rivals, the United States and the Soviet Union. Artist Richard T. Wallen’s monument honors the heroic pilots who ferried nearly 8,000 warplanes from the U.S. to Siberia to help Russia defend against the invading German army. They flew risky missions over remote and unpaved wilderness, making their way in stages, from one hastily built airfield to the next. Sanibel to Siberia also chronicles the 2006 dedication of the Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Memorial in Fairbanks, an event attended by dignitaries from the U.S., Russia, Canada, Great Britain and France. Produced by WGCU Public Media in Fort Myers, FL.
- As Long As I Remember: American Veteranos examines the steep personal toll and enduring legacy of the Vietnam War on three artists from south Texas: visual artist Juan Farias, author Michael Rodriguez and actor/poet Eduardo Garza. Through the personal histories and experiences of these Chicano veterans, the film examines the role art plays in the sorting of memories, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), activism and the current conflict in Iraq. As Long As I Remember chronicles their upbringing in the Mexican-American community, their military service in Vietnam, and their lives after the war.
- War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II celebrates the sacrifices of the “greatest generation” by taking a sentimental journey through the days of blackouts, rationing and Rosie the Riveter. The performance program, taped in front of a live audience, fills the stage at Holly Springs Cultural Center in North Carolina with wartime memories and a nostalgic score of period songs. This multimedia, living-history cabaret weaves together the popular songs of the World War II era with humorous, poignant and often poetic letters from the frontlines and the homefront. Actors Serena Ebhardt and David Zum Brunnen, in 1940s-era costumes, read intimate correspondence ranging from the words of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt (his famous “Four Freedoms” speech) to letters from a housewife discovering freedom and independence for the first time upon entering the workforce. Produced by UNC-TV in Chapel Hill, NC.
In the days leading up to Veterans Day, NPR will broadcast a seven-part series on “The Darkhorse Battalion,” unit that suffered the highest casualties among Marines during the Afghan war, from the front lines and the home front. The “Darkhorse” – the Third Battalion, Fifth Marine regiment – was deployed one year ago to Afghanistan. The mission: liberate one of the most dangerous parts of the country from Taliban control. Seven months later, they came home, having suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in the ten years of the Afghan war. In a seven-part series airing on NPR’s All Things Considered, Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman offers an inside account of the Darkhorse: the intense battles faced by the men fighting to survive, and the struggles of their families to endure at home. The series is based on interviews with the battalion commander, many of the wounded, the families of those killed, as well as senior officers in the Marine Corps., all the way up to the Commandant.
Additionally, American Public Media is distributing a number of Veterans Day programs to local stations. Among these programs:
- Performance Today will devote a significant portion of its November 11 program to music and stories inspired by, and connected with America’s veterans, including concert performances by the US Marine Band and a special concert in Dallas, where the Dallas Wind Symphony played patriotic works like “Esprit d’Corps” and “Servicemen on Parade.”
- APM will also re-broadcast a two-part segment that has been a favorite for many listeners: a sound-rich retelling of the history of the bugle call “Taps,” including readings of letters from those who were there at its origins during the Civil War. And part two: an interview with the US Army Band's long-time Senior Trumpet Soloist and Bugler, Sergeant Major Woodrow English. He tells the story of playing taps for his father's funeral, and vowing never to play it again after that. But in time, he became the man who intoned Taps for our most solemn national remembrances. Sgt. Major English took part in memorial services for General Omar Bradley, he was called upon to sound Taps at the 60th anniversary of D-Day on Omaha Beach, and for the funeral of President Ronald Reagan. His recording of Taps is now used around the globe to honor the passing of American servicemen and servicewomen. After 34 years of service – Sgt. Major English retired last year – APM will re-broadcast our full story and have an update on his life and music since his retirement.
- APM’s co-production with WUNC-FM (Chapel Hill, NC), The Story with Dick Gordon will feature a conversation with a son who never knew his father who fought in WWII. Recently another veteran gave Gary Aitken a journal that his father was kept and is learning about him.
Finally, the Public Radio Exchange, an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming, has put together a “Voices for Veterans Day” initiative, which includes the following programs:
- A War at Home: A Soldier’s Mission Against PTSD. For some soldiers, PTSD really is a four-letter word, meaning social stigma and medical treatment for the rest of your life. Jeremy Profitt served in Afghanistan and Iraq and came back with PTSD. He has a new mission: to clear up misconceptions about the illness. Produced by KALW-FM in San Francisco, CA.
- My Dad’s Favorites: An All-Amerian Greatest Generation Playlist. Producer Paul Ingles sits down with his 89-year-old WWII veteran dad to hear about the music his father feels has been essential to his appreciation of music. The program includes many references to the war years and how music connected with the WWII generation.
As Veterans Day approaches, many local public television and radio stations will demonstrate their support for veterans and their families. By engaging their communities on-air, online and on the ground, public media will not only help to tell veterans’ stories, but will also bring local communities together for reflection and appreciation. Station Highlights include:
WEKU-FM (Richmond, KY)
WEKU is airing oral histories of local soldiers who served in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Originally recorded by Eastern Kentucky University, WEKU has transformed these stories into regular weekly features that began on 9/11 and will culminate with an hour-long special on Veterans Day. WEKU also worked closely with veteran’s services organizations on these stories.
WGVU Public Radio and Television (Grand Rapids, MI)
WGVU is partnering with its local Veterans Parade to put on a Veterans Day Festival to include information booths about local veteran and family resources. On the air, WGVU will broadcast locally produced documentaries (LZ Michigan Highlights and LZ Michigan: A Journey Home) and national content (including Street Vets and Angle of Attack). The station is also asking veterans to share their stories and pictures via social media, to be posted on a website.
KLRU-TV (Austin, TX)
KLRU-TV is presenting several programs and tributes in observance of Veterans Day, including the POV feature Where Soldiers Come From and the musical tribute Mormon Tabernacle Choir Salutes Our Armed Forces.
Delta Public Broadcasting (University Center, MI)
On Veteran’s Day, Delta College Quality Public Broadcasting will honor service members with a live broadcast from the campus of Delta College featuring the names and photos of local veterans displayed in a Military Honor Roll that will broadcast live. The program also features excerpts from the station’s award-winning local documentaries Vanishing Voices of WWII and Margin of Victory.
KUYI Hopi Radio (Keams Canyon, AZ)
For the third consecutive year, KUYI will broadcast live from the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center. The broadcast features veterans’ gourd dances, Pow Wow and round dance groups honoring vets in song, speakers, and honor guards.
KRSC-TV (Claremore, OK)
KRSC-TV will run local “Salute to Veterans” spots to raise awareness about veterans’ service and sacrifice. The station will also live broadcast national content including A Gathering of Heroes, America Veterans: 2011, Angle of Attack and As Long as I Remember.
KFAI-FM (Minneapolis, MN)
Individual program hosts are developing content around topics of interest to local veterans and their broadcasts will include relevant public affairs programming, veteran-specific songs, and more.
Connecticut Public Television (Hartford, CT)
Connecticut Public Television is airing an original documentary on homeless female veterans.
WUFT-TV/FM (Gainesville, FL)
WUFT will live broadcast a community concert for veterans, as well as air Afghanistan War stories in POV’s Where Soldiers Come From.
Wyoming PBS (Riverton, WY)
Wyoming PBS will be airing 2011 America’s Veterans: A Musical Tribute and POV’s Where Soldiers Come From. The station is also re-airing a local program it produced entitled Honor Flight which chronicles the flight Wyoming veterans took to the WWII memorial in Washington, DC.
WXXI Public Broadcasting (Rochester, NY)
WXXI will be airing a number of programs around the subject of veterans, including a program called Vietnam War Stories, which shares personal memories of service and sacrifice and gives insight into the experience of war. The station will also be airing that week’s POV episode Where Soldiers Come From.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting (Baton Rouge, LA)
Louisiana Public Broadcasting will be broadcasting the “LSU Salutes” event at Louisiana State University (LSU) which honors the distinguished LSU alumni who have served in ROTC.
South Carolina ETV (Columbia, SC)
SCETV will host a premiere screening of its third and newest episode, A Path to Victory, which interviews 85 WWII veterans living in South Carolina. The American Road to Victory is also an SCETV National Presentation through NETA, which features three WWII battlefield documentaries. The station is also encouraging students to e-mail questions to “Project Discovery: Honoring the Role of South Carolina Veterans.”
WGTE (Toledo, OH)
In addition to airing a number of national programs, WGTE will broadcast The Homefront, a local program which looks at life during WWII in northwest Ohio.
WGCU Public Media (Fort Meyers, FL)
Along with national programs, WGCU is producing a 30-minute documentary Full Measure: A Veteran’s Story for broadcast on Veterans Day. The program will premiere during a three-minute segment at the Lee County schools event, “Pride and Patriotism.”
The Nine Network (St. Louis, MO)
The Nine Network is donating two box sets (16 DVDs) of Your Stories: St. Louis Remembers, a set that chronicles the war, people and places of St Louis’s brave men and women who fought in World War II. These stories, and large scale posters and original photos of veterans, will be on display during the St. Louis Veterans Day Parade and will remain at the St. Louis Soldiers Memorial.
KOPA, Pala Rez Radio (Pala, CA)
The Pala tribe has traditionally had a higher than average participation in military enlistment. Last year, the tribe commissioned the video production Honoring the Warriors of Pala, which features excerpts of interviews with nearly 25 local veterans. KOPA (the Pala tribe’s radio station) has also developed approximately 20 radio interviews with local veterans. On Veterans Day, these interviews will run in a twice an-hour, day-long rotation.