Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History (2015)
My father served as a medic in World War 2, but, like many soldiers of his generation, I don't ever remember him saying anything at all about his experiences. This film helps to explain why. For the most part, we understandably try to forget about our wars, or hide the horrible consequences of war, whereas the disabled veterans who come home after the war are a symbol and reminder of the horrific human costs of war — physical, psychological, emotional, and surely spiritual. This one-hour PBS documentary starts with the American Revolution, and, war by war, shows how our country's treatment of our disabled veterans has evolved. Our VA system started after WW1, the GI Bill after WW2. The history progresses up to our current Middle East wars. Although advanced medical treatments meant more people survived injuries and came home, the wars also kept getting bigger and bigger. A citizen army in which every man served used to be the norm, but that is now long gone and never to return. Today, 1% of Americans serve in our professional, volunteer army, while the other 99% of us barely give it a thought. This powerful film gives the lie to the glorification of death and violence to achieve political ends. I watched this film on the PBS website.