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Value of veteran lives, experiences focus of upcoming Arkansas PBS specials
Posted 26 Oct 2021
Viewer questions about veteran suicide being collected now
CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — America is home to nearly 18 million military veterans, from the “Greatest Generation” to the men and women coming home from recent tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Arkansas PBS takes a deeper look into the lives of veterans in the local special "Worth Fighting For" on Veterans Day Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. and the new four-part PBS series "American Veteran" beginning Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. All programming will also livestream at myarpbs.org/watchlive.
In “Worth Fighting For,” Arkansas PBS will delve into the struggle to save veteran lives as suicide rates rise. An experienced panel will answer audience questions on matters such as mental health resources, coping with the stress and other problems that lead to suicide ideation, the warning signs and symptoms, and things families and friends can do to help the veterans close to them.
Viewer questions and concerns are encouraged prior to the program and may be submitted at 501-682-0318, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Facebook message or on Twitter with #ARAsk.
Host Donna Terrell will lead the discussion with a group of experts, including Gina Chandler, assistant director for Veterans Services; Dr. Mandy McCorkindale, lead behavioral health officer for the Arkansas Army National Guard; retired United States Air Force Col. Don Berry with the Arkansas Veterans Coalition; and others.
Funding for “Worth Fighting For” is provided by AARP. Additional funding for veteran-related programming on Arkansas PBS is provided by Wreaths Across America.
A playlist of other veterans programming from Arkansas PBS is available on YouTube at bit.ly/arkansasveterans. Additional veteran resources are available at myarpbs.org/suicideprevention.
"American Veteran" will feature different aspects of the journey servicemen and women take from their first day at basic training to reentering civilian life, illuminating the veteran experience with a stunning range of voices from today and across the arc of American history. The multiplatform initiative traces the veteran experience through a broadcast series, podcast and digital shorts. Each episode will be hosted by a veteran: former Marine and TV host Drew Carey; Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient; Wes Studi, a Vietnam War veteran (National Guard) and Native American (Cherokee) activist; and J. R. Martinez, an Army veteran, actor and motivational speaker. From the citizen-soldiers returning from the American Revolution to today’s warrior class, they tell a deeply moving story, highlighting personal remembrances, drawing civilian viewers into an unfamiliar culture, and highlighting the evolving relationship between Americans who have served in the military and those who have not.
“American Veteran” episodes will include:
- “The Crossing," Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. – As recruits take the oath to serve, they leave the civilian world to become soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen or women, and their transformation begins. “There is a very stark line between before boot camp and after boot camp,” one veteran recalls. Hosted by Drew Carey.
- “The Mission,” Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. – Military life shapes servicemen and women in profound, unexpected ways. Veterans’ stories showcase the raw impact of these experiences, including a young Coast Guard recruit who helped ferry soldiers to fight and die on D-Day, a pilot based in Nevada who remotely guided bomber drones over Afghanistan, and a young Marine who rose to become the first Latina general. Hosted by Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
- “The Return,” Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. – Hollywood war stories seem to end with the hero’s triumphant return, but in reality, the road back to civilian life is often less certain. For some, there were ticker-tape parades; for others, protests, anger and silence. Some veterans recall the confidence they brought home, while others remember thinking, “What am I going to do now?” Hosted by Wes Studi.
- “The Reckoning,” Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. – “Those who went into the service and those who did not, we are two different realities,” observes a veteran. But, there are differences from veteran to veteran. Some appreciate “Thank you for your service”; others wonder if the thanks are just “bumper sticker deep.” Veterans reflecting on their service ask how veterans and civilians together can move America forward. Hosted by J. R. Martinez.
“American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories,” a nine-part podcast, has been produced in conjunction with the series and is available to listeners free on-demand across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Selecting from the rich array of veterans interviewed for the series, each episode focuses on the direct testimony of a single veteran. Their stories are emotional and thoughtful, from an Army nurse who volunteered to serve in Vietnam, to the first Black American woman held as a POW, to a Special Ops sniper coming to grips with what he was tasked to do. The podcast is hosted by Phil Klay, a Marine Corps veteran featured in the television series and author of the award-winning book "Redeployment."
Funding for "American Veteran" is provided by The Wexner Family Charitable Fund, Battelle Memorial Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Analog Devices.
About Arkansas PBS
Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. Arkansas PBS delivers daily, essential, local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watchlive, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado) and KETS (Lee Mountain).