Creating Connection: Producer Tabitha Safdi
It was a clear memory from childhood. I was only about 8 or 9 years old, visiting my grandparents’ house. There was a photo of my grandfather, looking dapper, in his Air Force uniform, on a bookshelf in the family room. After fidgeting with my hands for a few minutes, I got up the nerve to ask him.
“What did you do in the war?” I asked.
“I was the cook,” he replied with his half smile, not making eye contact. My mother, rolling her eyes at this answer, knew it was the end of this discussion. I didn’t know why he didn’t want to talk about his experiences. Was he protecting me or himself? It was a part of him I didn’t know…a significant part of his life.
My grandfather served in the Air Force for 20 years. I later found out that his main job was high-level communications. Maybe I asked the wrong question of my grandfather that day. Today, I’m still learning what I’m able to ask and what I’m not, as someone who has not served. That day, I craved connection to my grandfather. I wanted to understand, as someone who hasn’t served, what it was like, the experience, the friendships, the hardships, I wanted to know as much as he would tell me.
Fortunately, he left some incredible photos. He was a photographer. While I’ll never get to hear his stories, I get to see what he got to see. I’m so proud of him and proud of his service. To me, After Action is more than a series of shows, it’s an initiative…an initiative to help create bonds between those that have served and the people that love them. It’s an initiative to help heal and to feel. My hope is that every show brings with it new conversation and connection. I hope everyone who needs or wants to share their story can do so here at AfterActionShow.org.