James Gandolfini’s documentary special Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq serves as a sobering reminder of the physical and psychological cost of war on its survivors. The documentary interviews numerous veterans who experienced their “alive day”, the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq. Through their stories, we gain insight into the realities of war and its lasting impact on those for whom it has become too close for comfort.
Sgt. Bryan Anderson comments that “everybody makes a big deal about your alive day” at Walter Reed hospital but that from his perspective it is like “OK, we’re sitting here celebrating the worst day of my life. Great, let’s just remind me of that every year”. Similarly, First Lt. Dawn Halfaker remarks that while she is glad to have served her country, “war is horrible” and not something to be glorified.
This painful truth applies to more than 27,000 wounded service members who have returned from Iraq- representing an unprecedented 90% survival rate due to advances in medical care. However, many of these injuries are so severe that they cannot return to active duty – including amputations; traumatic brain injuries; and severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Through this powerful documentary, viewers can gain an understanding of the human cost of war that may otherwise remain unknown or forgotten by those insulated from its effects. Watching Alive Day Memories is sure to leave you with a heightened appreciation for our service men and women and their incredible sacrifices made in defense of our country.