Writing The Wartime Experience
Operation Homecoming is a one of a kind film that tells the stories of troops through their own eyes and using their words. Almost one million men and women have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every single one of them has a story to tell. Even though words might not be enough to convey the reality that they lived, it helps so that others can get an idea of the force of the stench of fear.
The National Endowment for the Arts had the initiative to start this project and the objective was to gather the writings of soldiers and their families who have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to do this, writers were sent to military bases to teach workshops. Because often war is dehumanized and even romanticized, these military men and women want to be seen as regular people that risked their lives for the greater good.
Through interviews and dramatic readings by actors such as Robert Duvall, Josh Lucas, Beau Bridges, Blair Underwood, Justin Kirk, Aaron Eckhart, Chris Gorham and John Krasinski, the film collects from the many selections of writing to offer a profound look at the experiences of the men and women who are serving in the U.S armed forces.
The film also lends depth and context to these experiences by analyzing the universal themes that are always studied in war literature. The writings featured in the documentary include poetry, fiction, memoirs, letters, journals, and essays.
There are many stories that are being told. They are sad, funny, violent, and yet quite uplifting and inspirational. Each one presents an honest and intense side of war and combat that is hardly ever talked about.
This extraordinary group of men and women offer a look into the human side of armed conflicts. More than sixteen hundred pieces of writing from service members and their families have been collected for this project.
The film takes the viewer beyond words and seeks to add depth to each story through interviews with both the writers, as well as other veterans who have gone on to make valuable contributions to war literature.
Soldiers of all ages unanimously express hope that people will listen to their stories and try to understand all the things that they have seen and heard. Writing is their way of cathartically trying to find meaning to the chaos and brutality of war. Watch it now.