Alternative programming: Service across generations

In a few hours, the National Mall will turn into an absolute mob scene for an inaugural HBO-sponsored Veterans Day concert featuring Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, and other major artists. This sort of musical event isn’t unprecedented on the Mall (like the previous HBO concert for Obama’a 2009 inauguration), but we understand if you find something a little dissonant about holding such an extravagant event on this typically somber holiday.

For those looking for a less raucous to reflect on the work of members of the armed forces, we recommend My Vietnam, Your Iraq (HU DVD 272), a PBS documentary about veterans of the Vietnam War whose children then served in Iraq. We tend to focus on the veteran experience in terms of its effects on families, but the dynamic can be very different in a family with multiple generations of war experience. The film jumps between seven different families, revealing intimate portraits of how war touches multiple generations.

We don’t want to denigrate the Concert for Valor, especially because it brings some liveliness to a holiday about celebrating our veterans rather than mourning them. But if you’re looking for something more reflective, this film is a great place to start.

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