AMERICAN VETERAN Premieres on LPB | Louisiana Public Broadcasting
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AMERICAN VETERAN Premieres on LPB, Exploring the Veteran Experience Across All Branches of the Service

American Veteran | PBS | What's an object that captures the veteran experience in your life?

AMERICAN VETERAN, an ambitious initiative that traces the veteran experience through a four-part PBS series, begins Tuesday, October 26 at 8:00 PM, on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB). From the citizen-soldiers who fought in the nation’s earliest conflicts, to the men and women in today’s all-volunteer armed forces, the series is a rich and deeply moving story told through personal remembrances that draw civilian viewers into an unfamiliar culture. Every voice in AMERICAN VETERAN, from hosts to interviewees, is that of a veteran. Their stories contribute to our evolving understanding of the relationship between Americans who have served and those who have not.

The production team interviewed a diverse group of nearly 50 veterans— young and old, enlisted and officers, men and women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those whose service left them with physical disabilities or PTSD. In each episode, veterans reflect on and share their personal experiences in the military, from boot camp to service in war and peacetime to return to civilian life.

Episode 1: “The Crossing” – Tuesday, October 26 | 8:00 PM 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.

Episode 2: “The Mission” – Tuesday, November 2 | 8:00 PM 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 Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Episode 3: “The Return” – Tuesday, November 9 | 8:00 PM 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.

Episode 4: “The Reckoning” – Tuesday, November 16 | 8:00 PM “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 we—veterans and civilians together—can move America forward. Hosted by J. R. Martinez.

Produced by GBH, the creator of such signature PBS programs as Masterpiece, Frontline, and NOVA, AMERICAN VETERAN is a multi-platform experience that includes a nine-part podcast to explore and a ten-part digital shorts series as well. The podcast and digital short series along with other series related content can be found at www.pbs.org/americanveteran.

There's also a chance to share your story. The filmmakers are encouraging everyone to share images of objects that encapsulate the veteran experience in your life, whether you are a veteran, an active service member, or if you have someone important in your life who is a veteran. Post an image of that object on any social media platform you prefer using the hashtag #AmericanVeteranPBS along with a few sentences of description.