Legacies of War: Two New Documentaries

August 29, 2017

Legacies of War: Coming Home premieres Monday, September 4 and Legacies of War: Vietnam premieres, Monday, September 11 on WLIW21.

The tri-state region is home to more than 1.4 million veterans. Suffolk County has the highest number of veterans in New York State—nearly 75,000—and Nassau County has nearly 55,000 (See Long Island Business Report: Veterans on Long Island). As a local companion to Ken Burns’ series, The Vietnam War, WLIW21 has produced two documentaries highlighting the stories of local veterans. The films, Legacies of War: Vietnam and Legacies of War: Coming Home, are part of WNET’s ongoing commitment to exploring the experiences of our military servicemen and women, building on previous initiatives like the Veterans Coming Home web series on the military-civilian divide (veterans.wliw.org) and the documentary Military Medicine: Beyond the Battlefield.

In Legacies of War: Coming Home, premiering Monday, September 4 on WLIW21, local veterans from all generations and conflicts share their stories of adjusting to civilian life after service. Legacies of War: Vietnam explores the war through the experiences of veterans from the New York tri-state area and premieres Monday, September 11 on WLIW21.

We meet retired U.S. Army Colonel Jack Jacobs of Far Hills, New Jersey, who received a Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War. Edie McCoy Meeks, a Vietnam veteran from Beacon, New York, joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps after her brother was drafted and joined the Marines. Salvatore Scarlato, a Korean War veteran from Hauppauge, Long Island and the president of the New York State Korean War Veterans, has dedicated himself to supporting veterans of all eras.

Working on this project has given Marisa Wong and Sasha Schechter, producers of Legacies of War: Coming Home, a richer understanding of the diversity and complexity of our veteran community and their experiences.

“We spoke with active duty and Reserve veterans from all different branches and generations. They brought to life the numerous challenges returning veterans face during their reintegration to civilian life, as well as the many ways they have grown and benefited from their service,” Wong said.

“These projects would not have been possible without support from the local veteran community,” Schechter added. “The NYC Veterans Alliance introduced us to a dynamic group of post-9/11 veterans who helped us understand the veteran landscape in our own backyard. Service Together — an organization that unites veterans and civilians through social justice initiatives — provided critical guidance on how to approach difficult topics with veterans.”

The Legacies of War documentaries are being made available, at no cost, to PBS stations across the country through WNET’s new digital content sharing platform, Wavelength. By sharing more stories about veterans, the team hopes to inspire deeper understanding of the veteran experience, help veterans and civilians find common ground, and better support the returned and returning service members in our communities.

Join the Conversation

Veterans and military families, want to share your story? Visit wliw.org/legacies-of-war or call our dedicated story line (212-560-VETS) to record a voicemail with your story.

Funding for Legacies of War: Vietnam and Legacies of War: Coming Home is provided by the Estate of Webster W. Schott. Additional funding is provided by members of WLIW21.