In honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, 2013, KCET will showcase several inspiring programs dedicated to those who have served in the United States military. With emotional journeys that include stories of adversity, friendship, and heroism, KCET celebrates the selfless individuals who had the courage and strength to fight for our country.
Monday, Nov. 4 @ 9PM: Maggie's War: A True Story of Courage, Leadership, & Valor in WWII
James Megellas, affectionately known as "Maggie," led H-Company of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment through some of the most horrific battles and deadliest missions of World War II, including the Battle of Anzio, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. Maggie's War chronicles the evolution of a citizen into a fearless platoon leader, and the transformation of a young man into the most highly decorated officer in the history of the famed 82nd Airborne Division. Seven decades later, cameras follow Megellas, now a retired Lieutenant Colonel, on an emotional return to Europe with a small group of family, friends and 82nd Airborne veterans. Together they visit old battlefields and war memorials and encounter Dutch citizens still grateful for their sacrifice.
Friday, Nov. 8 @ 8PM: Killing Memories
Killing Memories follows five American war veterans who served together in Vietnam 40 years ago as they reunite to tour battlefields, meet former enemies and confront ghosts of their past. Though the film is focused on overcoming old wounds, it resonates loudly in the present, as America continues fighting wars and sending her children into battle.
Friday, Nov. 8 @ 9:30PM: Ted Bell and the Ridge
Retired Col. Ted Bell became The Citadel's most decorated World War II veteran for his valor in holding a rugged ridge on the Pacific island of Okinawa. But the deaths of so many of his men in his Easy Company of the 77th Infantry Division weighed on his mind as the decades passed. Holding the place near Ishimmi Ridge over a tortuous three days of combat proved to be a decisive moment in the war in the Pacific, puncturing a hole in the Japanese's Shuri Line and clearing the way for the United States to win the island and use it for the planned invasion of Japan. Two months later, Japan surrendered after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Saturday, Nov. 9 @ 4PM: We Served Too: The Story of the Women's Air Force
This is a story of a group of young, determined and courageous women during World War II who broke through barriers and shattered stereotypes: the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). They were the first women pilots to ever fly for the United States military. However, after an aggressive campaign by male pilots who wanted the WASPs jobs during World War II, they were the only wartime unit that was denied military status by Congress and were sent home before the war was over and their job was done. Because the women were denied military status, the WASPs received no insurance or benefits during or after the war, and if a WASP died during training or while on a mission, their families were not allowed to put a service star in the window, nor could the WASPs receive a military burial. It wasn't until the middle of the 1970s that they would be recognized as World War II veterans, and it wasn't until 2010, that the United States government would recognize those women who died during their service and the surviving WASPs would receive the congressional gold medal. We Served Too provides a firsthand account from WASPs who tell their story and discuss their experiences during the three pivotal periods that make up the WASP history. WASP experts and family members also share their personal stories and expert knowledge.
Monday, Nov. 11 @ 9PM: The Last Ridge
On a freezing winter night in February 1945, the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division accomplished the impossible: they scaled a 2,000-foot cliff in northern Italy to knock the seemingly invincible Germans from their impenetrable perch. The Last Ridge recounts the remarkable story of the legendary 10th Mountain Division, whose extraordinary efforts turned the tide for the Allied forces in Italy, revolutionized winter mountain warfare abroad, transformed winter sports and inspired an entire generation of soldiers. Narrated by National Public Radio's Scott Simon, the documentary traces the 10th Mountain Division's history: from their uphill battles in World War II to their current campaigns in troubled Afghanistan.