Military and Veterans Initiatives

CPB supports compelling, multiplatform content and community engagement projects on military and veterans’ issues. Through individual stories of service men and women from all generations, public media delivers local content of national importance. Public media stations are trusted community conveners, bringing individuals and families together to discuss and address shared concerns for veterans and their families. Stations organize local initiatives, town hall meetings and multimedia campaigns with established, community-based partners and local service organizations to engage and inform citizens and highlight opportunities and resources for veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

Veterans Coming Home

Veterans Coming Home is a multimedia effort supported by CPB and aimed at bridging the gap of understanding between America's military and civilians. The initiative has been led by Wisconsin Public Television under the guidance of a national advisory committee. Launched in 2013 with the CPB-funded PBS film, Coming Back with Wes Moore, participating stations produced over 150 broadcast, radio, and online stories. On the ground, stations worked with more than 130 organizations to reach thousands of veterans and their families through job fairs, summits, sponsored events, screenings, and other outreach.

Coming Back
Photo courtesy of Powderhouse Productions, 2013. “Coming Back With Wes Moore.” Star Lopez reunited with her husband, Chris Phelan and daughter, River.

Kindling Group as executive producer worked with stations to strengthen the local-national content collaboration and engagement. This culminated in a digital docuseries by stations in communities across the country. A team of media-makers and journalists - two post-9/11 veterans and two civilians - traveled to stations to co-produce these local stories, explored ways communities support veterans and empowered veterans to tell their own stories on-air and online.  

The content is shared through PBS’ Stories of Service and a host of national partners, extending the visibility and reach of this crucial dialogue about America’s veterans to new and diverse public media audiences. Stations across the country continue to work through partnerships to sustain the work in their communities.

participating Veterans
Courtesy of Kindling Group and participating public media stations

Recent CPB-Funded Veterans Programs and Projects

The Vietnam War – Over 18 immersive hours, directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told on film, with firsthand accounts from nearly 80 witnesses including Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians. In addition to the film, CPB supported grants to 74 public media stations across the country to partner with local libraries, theaters, veterans service organizations, schools, and other local organizations to explore the war’s lasting impact. Through screenings of “The Vietnam War” documentary, panel discussions and other events, these stations and partners invited the public to share personal stories and photos of veterans and affected family members, and hosted programs to honor those who served. 

American Homefront – is a journalism collaboration between WUNC, Chapel Hill, NC; KUOW, Seattle, WA; and KPCC, Pasadena, CA, through which the stations provide stories focused on veterans issues for national radio distribution.  A story by American Homefront’s Jay Price was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, in which Jay visited a government laboratory in Hawaii where forensic scientists attempt to identify service members’ remains. Learn more.

A Capitol Fourth – an all-star concert salute against the backdrop of fireworks in honor of Independence Day. It broadcasts live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, before a live audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, and troops watching around the world on the American Forces Network.

Coming Back with Wes Moore – a three-part series produced by best-selling author and Army combat veteran Wes Moore tells the story of Wes Moore’s search for answers to some of the most difficult questions related to returning from war. 

The Great War: Television Mini Series - a six-hour mini-series, The Great War by American Experience broadcast on public media to coincide with the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into the World War I. The project highlights important themes including the emergence of American power in world affairs; women’s changing roles and expectations during wartime; and the heroism of African American soldiers on the battlefield despite deep-seated discrimination at home and abroad.

Homefront: Fort Druma CPB-funded multimedia project produced by AIR and 15 local stations committed to discovering stories from rural, urban, high-poverty communities. Based at North Country Public Radio in upstate New York, Homefront: Fort Drum has built a body of work and a network of connections across the region it serves. Finding America producer Meredith Turk has made connections and shared work with other producers at stations around the country who are also examining the culture of our military communities and the lives of military members and their families.

Lidia Celebrates America: Homegrown Heroes –renowned chef and food ambassador Lidia Bastianich travels across the United States to visit with veterans who have reconnected with their communities through farming, beekeeping and raising livestock. In Homegrown Heroes, follows Bastianich as she travels from Loom, W.V., to Anaheim, Calif., to cook with and hear the stories of veterans who are reconnecting with their communities through farming, beekeeping and raising livestock. The one-hour, CPB-supported feature is part of the “Lidia Celebrates America” series. The special explores the role of food and farming to bring people together and foster healing and recovery. Learn more.

Local USA: Veterans Coming Home – a three-part series on WORLD Channel features the personal stories of Americans who have served in the U.S. military and cover contemporary issues such as recruitment, post-traumatic stress disorder and LGBT rights in the military. The segments areproduced in partnership with public media stations in New York, Orlando, San Diego, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Kansas City, Norfolk, Madison, and Nashville.

Military Medicine: Beyond the Battlefield - hosted and reported by ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, this film covers military medical advances and technology - from the battlefield to the return home. The personal stories of physicians, scientists, active duty troops, veterans, and military families come together in this one-hour documentary to show how these advances are saving and changing the lives of America's service members.

National Memorial Day Concert – The CPB-supported National Memorial Day Concert honors the service of our military men and women. PBS broadcasts the concert live for radio, television and online from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnamthis film tells the story of shifting priorities in America’s barrios. From the mines of Arizona to the streets of East LA, Latino youths faced the push and pull of military service during the Vietnam War. Military draft policies and economic inequality combined with the allure of war and a proud tradition of military service to place a heavy burden on Latino youth. But as the conflict wore on and Latinos learned they were dying in disproportionate numbers, the allure faded and many Latinos decided their real battle — for equality — was at home.

StoryCorps’ Military Voices – In partnership with POV, stories from the Peabody Award-winning oral history nonprofit StoryCorps help to bridge the gap in understanding between veterans and civilians.  Military Voices provides post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families the opportunity to record and share their stories with the public – through broadcasts on NPR and animated short films on PBS.

Veterans Coming Home participating stations: