Monday night Chris and I stayed up past our bedtime to watch “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” – the latest powerful installment of the Iraq War documentary series “America at a Crossroads” which is playing all this week on PBS.
The documentary, which features a variety of dramatic readings and author interviews, showcases several works from the pens of soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For as much as the media has documented the war in Iraq, I’ve seldom viewed any coverage that truly expresses the human emotions and struggles of those who are most involved. I have never before been exposed to anything as heart wrenchingly honest as the stories of these soldiers. The documentary is tragic and intensely beautiful in an indescribable way.
The Iraq War has become so politicized that, to most people, it’s become just one more issue to polarize the nation. We discuss the war, but do we even realize what we’re talking about? We’ve turned it into an abstract idea when there is nothing more concrete than what these men and women are going through. We, as civilians, have become far too removed and far too complacent.
Watching this film – listening to the first hand accounts – has humanized the war for me and given me a much deeper appreciation for the nightmare these people endure. With each vignette I understood that, soldier or civilian, we are all the same. That soldier on screen fighting fear and dust and boredom could just as easily be my husband, or my brother… or me.