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Honoring Our Veterans
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November 14, 2008

Veterans Day comes but once a year — but honoring and aiding veterans can be a daily thought and action. As Bill Murphy Jr., the author of a new book about the West Point class of 2002, writes in his article "People, not chess pieces," in THE ATLANTIC:
"When we ask our young men and women to join the military and serve overseas—and to risk and sometimes give their lives in the process—we make a commitment. We tell them that we've got their backs. And if we don't follow through on our end of the deal when they go abroad, we suggest that we think they are fools. And what's even worse, if we send them to fight, and then simply quit paying attention, we break their hearts."
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL has done a number of stories about veterans and active service personnel — from D-Day to Baghdad. You can watch all our stories by clicking on the video icon. We also have resources, updates and additional online only features: how to do an oral history of a veteran, writing from Maxine Hong Kingston's Veterans writing group and more.

Veterans Writing Project
Watch Video For nearly 15 years Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. "The contributors to VETERANS OF WAR, VETERANS OF PEACE — combat veterans, medics, and others who served in war; gang members, drug users, and victims of domestic violence; draft resisters, deserters, and peace activists — are part of this community of writers working together to heal the trauma of war through art."

  • Read works from VETERANS OF WAR, VETERANS OF PEACE.


    Veterans History -- D-Day Revisited
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    D-DAY REVISITED explores the sometimes painful memories of a group of D-Day veterans' wartime experiences. Featuring excerpts from the Bill Moyers' 1990 documentary FROM D-DAY TO THE RHINE, the program includes the latest information about the veterans featured in the film who talked with Bill Moyers about their memories, their values, and their commitment to America.


    Weekend Warriors No More

    Watch VideoIn September 2008, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL gave viewers an intimate look at how deployments of National Guard troops to Iraq affect the state Governors' ability to swiftly respond to domestic disaster at home and impact the families left behind. Traveling to New Jersey, THE JOURNAL followed families preparing for the deployment of nearly half of New Jersey's National Guard to Iraq.


    BODY OF WAR
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    Earlier this year the JOURNAL relayed the story of Iraq war veteran Tomas Young who was shot and paralyzed less than a week into his tour of duty. Three years in the making, BODY OF WAR tells the poignant tale of the young man's journey from joining the service after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan, to living with devastating wounds after being deployed to Iraq instead.

    UPDATE: Tomas Young suffered a pulmonary embolism in May 2008 which left him in a medical coma. When he emerged from the coma, he had a long road ahead to recovery. His speech was severely compromised as were his arms and hands. It was uncertain if he would regain full brain functionality.

    Tomas has been working hard on his recovery at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He has physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy 5 days a week. His mental capacities are in top form. His brilliance, humor and sensitivity are all there. His speech and arm/hand movement are still compromised but he has come a long way, and in time, Tomas is confident he will recover fully. Best of all, Tomas is very happy.

    When musician Eddie Vedder played Chicago, Tomas spent his first evening out of the rehab hospital. Vedder spent 20 minutes talking privately with Tomas before the show. Midway through the show, Tomas rolled onto the stage as Vedder played *NO MORE* the original song written for BODY OF WAR.

    Tomas has a girlfriend. He and Claudia have been going to see movies, concerts and, just recently, Tomas and Claudia attended the Obama victory party in Grant Park as VIP guests. Tomas will be discharged on November 25 to return to Kansas City to resume physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City. BODY OF WAR is currently showing on HBO.

  • Also This Week:

    NEW PRESIDENT: SAME WORLD
    What will President-elect Obama's promises of change mean for the Middle East? JOURNAL guest host Deborah Amos sits down with Elizabeth Rubin, the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Slate magazine columnist Fred Kaplan.

    > UPDATE: AFGHANISTAN, THE FORGOTTEN FRONT

    EXPOSÉ on THE JOURNAL: Broken Justice
    EXPOSÉ and THE JOURNAL follow a team from THE DENVER POST's award-winning reporting on the broken justice system on Indian reservations across the country.

    > MORE ON LEGAL JURISDICTION IN INDIAN COUNTRY

    > MORE FROM EXPOSÉ: AMERICA'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS

    HONORING OUR VETERANS
    From D-Day to Baghdad — collection of video and online resources about and for veterans.

    > NATIONAL GUARD AND VETERAN RESOURCES: STATE BY STATE

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