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Communications prof. to show film on life after war
War is brutal. We all know that. What many people do not know is its traumatic effects on the soldiers that fight in them and the inner struggles that plague them when they return home from defending their country. “No Unwounded Soldiers,” a documentary made by Professor Rebecca Abbott, exemplifies the pain and anguish a group of veterans deal with and their fight to shake off the demons that haunt them from their memories of war.
“The experience of seeing life and death right in front of you holds a lasting effect,” Abbott said. “It doesn’t go away. It has a profound effect on their (soldiers) ability to live their lives.”
The documentary, which includes veterans from World War II, Vietnam War, Gulf War and Iraq War, shows interviews with these “men of combat,” most of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The veterans tell their stories, and share the hardships they went through after returning to home soil.
“What people don’t realize is that you are different when you come back from war,” Abbott said. “You are permanently changed by it. It is really hard for a person to go off to war, then come back and pick up where they left off in their life.”
For example, Abbott says, when some soldiers return home from battle, the adrenaline rush they got from the war stays with them, whether they like it or not. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to alcohol or drug addictions. Some veterans choose to become firefighters or police officers when they return because ordinary jobs just don’t have enough of a risk factor.
With the war in Iraq dragging on, more painful memories were reoccurring for the already wounded soldiers, metaphorically speaking.
“They couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” Abbott said.
Every time they heard or saw something about the current war, their minds couldn’t help but shift toward old memories of the death and destruction they had once witnessed.
The documentary highlights the veterans’ decision to put together an original play so they could “give back” to the new veterans fresh from the war in Iraq. By doing so, it was an alternative way to let out their emotions. The characters created for the play were based on either themselves or people they knew. The veterans hope that through their own experiences they can show the ripple effects of war.
“No Unwounded Soldiers,” set to debut in the Mancheski Executive Seminar Room in the School of Business on Monday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m., got its title from one of the veterans who read an article about war. Abbott thought it was a great idea, as it really rung true with the meaning of her documentary.