Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The best documentaries and videos for commemorating Veterans Day

Mentor Veterans Memorial
First and foremost, thank you to our veterans from all branches of the military.

We cannot not do what we do unless we are first safe, and you are the ones who have kept us safe.

Secondly, all of Mentor Library’s branches will be closed this Veteran’s Day. But, with our digital services, you still have access to all sorts of movies, ebooks, audiobooks and music even when the library’s buildings are closed.

Also, Hoopla has several films and documentaries that are appropriate reminders of what Veteran’s Day is all about. You can stream the videos to your computer, tablet or phone for free if you have a Mentor Library card.

1) Where Soldiers Come From (91 min) Not Rated

This documentary follows three young men from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as they receive their basic training and are sent to Afghanistan, patrolling roadways looking for improvised explosive devices. The film charts their evolving attitudes about the war and American foreign policy as they see how it works up close, as well as their sometimes tense relationships with their families, who aren’t certain the young men will ever come home.

2) You're the Enemy—Welcome Back! (46 min) Not Rated

Forty years after the end of the war, a few brave American veterans have returned to the place their country devastated. The amazing forgiveness and optimism of the Vietnamese people as they welcome these former enemies with open arms is the most potent form of therapy for the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and the guilt which made the lives of many veterans so difficult when they returned home.

3) Comedy Warriors (84 min) Not Rated

Four professional comedians (Zach Galifianakis, Bob Saget, B.J. Novak and Lewis Black), work with five wounded veterans (Stephen Rice, Darisse Smith, Rob Jones, Bobby Henline and Joe Kashnow) to hone their stand-up acts. This documentary shows healing power of humor.

4) The Ghost Army (60 min) Not Rated

From PBS: War, deception and art come together in this astonishing true story of American G.I.s who tricked the enemy with rubber tanks, sound effects and carefully crafted illusions during World War II. This remarkable tale of a top-secret mission that was at once absurd, deadly and amazingly effective is told through the stories of the veterans, many of whom—like Bill Blass and Ellsworth Kelly—would go on to have illustrious careers in art, design and fashion.

5) D-Day: The Price of Freedom (54 min) Not Rated

Five D-Day veterans return to Normandy and revisit the locations they landed on June 6, 1944, sharing their own very personal stories of war. This documentary won Emmy Awards for writing and photography.

6) The Battle for the Midway (50 min) TVPG

One thousand miles from anywhere lay a lonely outpost of coral and sea called Midway. It was here in 1942 where the U.S. and Japan fought one of the greatest naval battles of World War II that changed the course of history. And it is here again where Titanic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard now leads a team of experts and four World War II veterans on the voyage of their lives. They're on a race against time to do the impossible: find at least one of the five downed aircraft carriers. Join them as they pay their final respects to their fallen comrades.

7) World War II: Saving the Reality (55 min) Not Rated

This documentary tells the story of an individual who owns the largest private collection of World War II artifacts in the world. More than 50 interviews with veterans and survivors of the war help tell the story of the meaning of the over 7,000 individual items in the collection of Kenneth W. Rendell.

8) A Perfect Soldier (56 min) Not Rated

An extraordinary and inspiring documentary about one man’s journey from child soldier to international hero. A Perfect Soldier tells the story of Aki Ra, who as a young boy was taken by the Khmer Rouge and forced to plant hundreds of landmines in the Cambodian countryside. As an adult, he has devoted his life to removing them, one landmine at a time. In 2010, he was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of the Year.

9) Ken Burns: The War (seven episodes, each 120 min) TV14

Ken Burns’ seven-part documentary series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective by following the fortunes of so-called ordinary men and women who become caught up in one of the greatest cataclysms in human history. Six years in the making, this epic 14-hour film focuses on the stories of citizens from four geographically distributed American towns—Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and the tiny farming town of Luverne, Minnesota.

10) The Winning of World War II: The Road to Victory (16 episodes, each 60 min) Not Rated

Join General John Eisenhower as he retraces World War II. From the rise of Hitler to the historic battles and the eventual involvement of U.S. forces, witness the Allies’ road to victory. Then, discover the top commanders who made this victory possible.

11) Crusade in the Pacific (26 episodes, each 30 min) TVPG

Experience the epic television documentary event that chronicles all the bloody land, sea and air battles for the Pacific, produced by the legendary March Of Time newsreel unit and featuring never-before-seen footage from the archives of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as film captured from the Japanese government.

12) Vietnam: 50 Years Remembered (seven episodes, each 50 min) TVPG

This 7-part documentary series tells the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Featuring personal stories from veterans and detailing the battles, strategy, and politics of a war that consumed multiple U.S. Presidents. Vietnam: 50 Years Remembered is a chronicle of the tragedy that tested the strength of our country and forever changed the social and political landscape of the world.

Here’s a link to all of Mentor Library’s digital services, all of which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, if you're not sure how to use Hoopla, we've created an explanatory video.

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