A Father's Untold Story and an Opportunity for Authentic Conversations; By Director Don Godish
I am a curious person by nature, dating all the way back to my early years. So as the son of a World War II veteran, it was only natural that I would ask my Dad about his time in the US Army. The answer, no matter the question, was ask your Uncle Stanley because he likes to talk about it. What stuck with me were those times I would ride with him to his small hometown. Besides the graveside stop, and time with his friends, we always visited the local American Legion. I saw him with men his age who I can only assume were other WWII veterans. They would talk up a storm, enjoy some beers, while I would sit on the other end of the bar drinking orange Nehi and eating BBQ chips. If only I could have listened in!
To this day I know little of his experience, other than he was infantry, he was awarded two Purple Hearts, he almost died in action, and he used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Television & Radio Engineering. Some things hung with him until he passed away, taken to the grave, which I can only guess was why no guns were ever allowed in the house. Before the war, he was known to hunt with his friends. But after the war, my dad never did again. But he was immensely proud in supporting our military men and women. Memorial Day and Veterans Day were always special days in our home.
My career has blessed me with the opportunity to meet many amazing people, and Stacy is one of them. We met in 2010 while I was working on a project related to veteran’s healthcare. While I did not necessarily know it then, a connection occurred and some nineteen years later we were drawn back together. I’m often reminded by Stacy that veterans and the military make up a small percentage of our overall population. And for various reasons, the general public has a difficult time genuinely engaging with them. My hope is that our viewers will be drawn into “After Action’s” authentic conversations. And as a result, they will see the humanity of veterans, the similarities, and the differences between them and “us.” Ultimately it will move us beyond the often used “Thank you for your service” comment and lead to both the veteran and the general public welcoming a more meaningful conversation.
Our location team was moved by the stories of our twenty-one diverse veterans, as well as Stacy’s story. Their honesty and willingness to be vulnerable and open was only possible because the veterans were together. They trusted Stacy, they trusted us, and it is our obligation to honor that trust in every episode of “After Action.”