If you don’t know anyone who’s served in the military, Veteran’s Day is a holiday that’s easy to disregard; even if you have the day off, for the most part, business continues as usual. We decided instead to take a moment to look back at some of the stories we’ve aired on Studio 360 that came from soldiers themselves. Below, a sampling of our favorites. Listening to these voices could be a nice way to pay tribute, and, maybe, help us get to know some vets a little bit better.
“The Soldier and the Folksinger”
When we hear about the music listened to by troops in Iraq, it’s usually heavy metal or rap. Marine Sergeant Matt Lowy’s tastes are a bit different: Frank Sinatra, Cat Stevens — and the singer-songwriter Jess Klein. Not long ago, Lowy contacted Klein over the internet, and an unlikely friendship formed.
“Aha Moment: Born to Run”
When our listener Tom Long first heard the song “Born to Run” in the summer of 1976, he realized he was just like a character in a Bruce Springsteen song: living a life of quiet desperation in a dead-end job. So, Tom tells Kurt, he joined the army.
In 2006, billboards appeared along a highway near Syracuse, New York, just over an hour’s drive from Fort Drum Army Base. Each billboard showed a close-up of a young man’s head on a plain dark surface. In this story, we hear from Suzanne Opton, the photographer, as well as one of the soldiers she photographed.
National Guard Captain Padraic Lilly related to Black 47’s music instantly. When bandleader Larry Kirwan started hearing from soldiers like Lilly, their experiences fed a new batch of songs about the Iraq war. But Black 47’s anti-war message doesn’t sit well with all of its fans.
Last year, Kurt talked with Gregory Burke about his play, Black Watch. It’s about a regiment of Scottish soldiers known as Black Watch that was sent to fight in the Iraq War in 2004. They were deployed to a region known as the “Triangle of Death.” Burke tells Kurt how he created the play from his interviews with real soldiers.
What did you think of these segments? If you’re a vet, is there a movie, song or book that you strongly connected with during or after your experience in the military? Let us know – leave us a comment. And thanks for sharing your stories.