‘Where Soldiers Come From’ Returns

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was widely criticized for not mentioning the sacrifices of American troops during his acceptance speech. But the truth is that, barring some major battle that makes the news, few of us pay much thought to these brave young men and women.

What drives them to enlist? How are they changed by their experience? What problems do they face upon returning home? Surely we owe them enough to care.

One group of such soldiers is the focus of the superb documentary Where Soldiers Come From. First shown on PBS one year ago, it is being rebroadcast on many public television stations over the next week. And it is streaming online at www.pbs.org/pov Friday through Sept. 20.

The film, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in the News and Documentary category, follows four friends from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as they enlist in the National Guard and are deployed to Afghanistan. As we wrote a year ago, it is neither pro- nor anti-war; rather, it’s a coming-of-age story, part American Graffiti, part The Hurt Locker. A fine, urgent piece of filmmaking, it is not to be missed.

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