Friday, September 14, 2007

Alive Day

Last night I watched Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq on HBO. Hosted and produced by James Gandolfini it was an inspiring, moving, horrifying and ultimately even-handed and unapologetic account of wounded Iraq War Veterans. These soldiers suffered egregious injuries, most as a result of IEDs, and their wounds are horrific. They very bluntly show their stumps, their surgery scars, prosthetic eyes and limbs. While I sometimes wanted to look away I forced myself to watch. These soldiers are fighting in a war that I support and it would have been hypocritical of me to look away.

Like anyone wounded as badly as these people were, the subjects of the show were serious and contemplative. Each is still grappling with their newly defined lives and what their injuries mean for their futures. It was an amazing television experience and Gandolfini was an unobtrusive presence -- asking questions, shaking their hands and hugging the soldiers after the interviews. Many times he was hidden by a cameraman and you rarely saw his face. Their stories were permitted to stand as testimonies to their strength, courage, luck and pluck. I don't think that they were politicized in any way. This lack of politicization, in and of itself, deserves mention in a media landscape where the soldier is a pawn in each side's never ending political chess match.

Many of these soldiers have undergone multiple surgeries -- one, 46 in 16 months -- and the care-level is a testament to the doctors and the medical professionals of this country. Many of these soldiers should, by rights, be dead. The interviewees and all the wounded and fallen soldiers, airmen and sailors deserve our respect, admiration, love and support. They certainly have mine. Everybody, war supporters and non-supporters alike should watch this show. It's important. Also, and finally, make a donation to some of the many charities that support the wounded and their families:

This is a good compendium of charities serving the military and military families. I donate to Fisher House and Operation Homefront each year around Christmas. I'm also going to donate to this organization that I learned about through this program: The Wounded Warrior Project.

God bless the troops -- the ones still in harm's way, and the ones recovering from their injuries.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to our web site. Our deputy executive director, Al Girodano, along with Jeremy Chwat, our VP for program services, assisted HBO with finding the veterans to be interviewed by Mr. Gandolfini. Dawn Halfaker, one of the veterans on the show, is on our board of directors. Many of our staff are also wounded veterans from the war in Iraq.

Woody Groton
Chief Information Officer
Wounded Warrior Project

Agricola said...

Mr. Groton:

Thank you for reading and thanks for all that you do.

I made my donation today!