What does an ex-anchor do with his time? Tom Brokaw spent the better part of this past year putting together a sobering report that aired Sunday on the Iraq wars psychological ramifications. Called To War and Back, the hourlong special traced the battle scars of a close-knit group of seven college-age National Guardsmen from Glens Falls, New York, who have been dealing with the death of one of their own, and various physical and psychic wounds. It wasnt an overtly politically charged hour the dead soldiers mother is seen speaking out about the lack of armor that can be directly tied to her sons death on a mission into insurgent-addled Samarra, and ultimately sounds resigned that it will always be a problem for the troops but like the most gripping tales of any war, the stories had a timeless feel. The guy who served as a medic doesnt want to go into medicine anymore, fearing horrific recall of his Iraq tour any time he might treat a patients broken body. The guitar player lost four of his fingers and the creative outlet he always thought would keep him on an even keel. None regret their service, but they all show the effects of being weekend warriors unexpectedly thrown into fierce combat. And then theres the red tape theyre all experiencing that prevents them from getting on with their lives. Are these unusual stories? No. But they are stories that arent covered as often as they should be which is probably why To War and Back worked so well.
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