Last weekend was the alumni weekend on campus. I got around to seeing some old friends who were able to make it up, which was fun, to catch up and see how people have moved on a bit. It’s been an interesting weekend. Yesterday, a new exhibit on the Mountain Cold Weather division opened, to celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. Part of that was a screening of a documentary on the 10th Mountain Division, which is similar in nature to the MCW. The documentary was mainly on the 10th work in World War II, which fit with the next hour of the event. The Sullivan Museum coordinated with PBS, and they did a one hour preview of Ken Burn’s newest documentary, The War.
From that preview, I’m amazed. It’s a fantastic look at the second World War. Burns is a fantastic documentary film maker – his prior works – the ones that I’ve seen – Civil War and Jazz, are fantastic, very in depth looks at each subject, to a near comprehensive level. The War is a look at the second World War through four towns in the US.
Where Burns has used photographs in prior documentaries, he uses video footage, to create an unparalleled portrait of the War. The project was started shortly after Burns learned two statistics – That nearly a thousand World War II veterans die each day, when they started the work six years ago, and that number’s only risen. And secondly, 40 % of graduating high school seniors thought that the U.S. and Germany fought in the Second World War together, against Russia.
Hopefully, this will be a bit of a step in bringing the history of what happened to more people, so that number is reduced somewhat- it’s a disturbing statistic. It’ll also be nice to see something about WWII besides what people see in films.
The War will be starting on Sunday, September 23rd, at 8:00 pm on PBS, and will be running through the week. The entire thing will be about 14 hours long, and at least in Vermont, we’ll be getting the original edition, not the censored version that some places will be airing. Later on, after the first original airing, the censored version will be aired during family friendly times. I’m not thrilled with a censored war documentary. I know I can’t wait to see it though.