War Survivors Unite in Remembrance and Reflection As Part of Veterans Day Line-Up

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– A Look at the Realities of Warfare Through Stories of Survival and Triumph in Two New Documentaries Airing in Early November –

ARLINGTON, VA; OCTOBER 21, 2015 — PBS will explore the lasting impact of war in new documentaries airing around Veterans Day. Through moving interviews with survivors from WWII to the War on Terror, the featured documentaries share personal stories from disabled veterans and reunited former enemies on opposite sides of the battlefield.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 8:00-9:00 p.m., PBS viewers will take an unforgettable journey back to the iconic site of one of the fiercest battles of World War II. IWO JIMA: FROM COMBAT TO COMRADES is the powerful and moving story of American and Japanese servicemen who came together 70 years later for a historic reunion in March 2015. This island battlefield is the only former combat zone in the world that sees past enemies return as friends in a ceremony of peace and remembrance. Flags of Our Fathers actor Ryan Phillippe hosts.

Also on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, is a new documentary film by six-time Emmy Award-winning director Ric Burns titled, DEBT OF HONOR: DISABLED VETERANS IN AMERICAN HISTORY. This film, airing from 9:00-10:00 p.m., examines the way in which the American government and society as a whole have regarded disabled veterans throughout history, beginning in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War and continuing through today’s conflicts in the Middle East. The film combines personal stories, told by distinguished disabled veterans, with deep history narrated by leading scholars in the fields of disability studies, history and psychology to illustrate the human cost of war and the enormous sacrifices of military service. These sacrifices are brought to life through hundreds of carefully curated still images and archival footage from across the country. (See clip above.)

“Through the very real and heart-wrenching personal stories told by war veterans, PBS hopes to shine a brighter light on the realities of life after battle,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming at PBS. “At its core, our programs seek to provide viewers with a better understanding of the men and women who stood on the front lines. This year, we not only show viewers how veterans are living beyond their battle wounds and disabilities, but also how some veterans on opposing sides have sought to reunite.”

IWO JIMA: FROM COMBAT TO COMRADES and DEBT OF HONOR: DISABLED VETERANS IN AMERICAN HISTORY are part of PBS Stories of Service, a multiplatform initiative exploring veterans’ experiences and providing a deeper understanding of our country’s military history. Viewers are invited to join the conversation in social media using the hashtag #ServiceStoriesPBS and access a rich library of more than 50 archival programs and resources for educators, students and veterans at pbs.org/storiesofservice.

In 2017, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR, a documentary film series about the history and meaning of that conflict, will explore the military, political, cultural, social and human dimensions of what has been called “the war of lost illusions.” The primary focus will be the human experience, using eyewitness testimonies of so-called “ordinary” people — Americans as well as Vietnamese — whose lives were touched by the war.