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PBS And WSRE Honor Veterans This May With Special Programs For Memorial Day

Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise. Credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts
Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise.
Credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts
Pensacola, Fla. — PBS and WSRE honor the service of men and women in uniform with broadcasts of new and encore programs during May and on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, 2012. Now an annual tradition in its 23rd year, the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna with a star-studded lineup of performers, will air live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, May 27 at 7PM. On Monday, May 28 at 9PM, INDEPENDENT LENS presents “Hell and Back Again,” the Academy Award-nominated documentary featuring the overlapping stories of a Marine at war and of the same Marine in recovery at home.

“Memorial Day is a time for reflection on the sacrifice and service of veterans and their families,” said John F. Wilson, SVP and Chief Programming Executive. “We hope that all Americans will take time to remember and honor these real-life heroes who serve our country every day.”

Encore broadcasts include NOVA specials about discoveries related to the 1941 sinking of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor and the efforts of family members to find information about loved ones who were shot down in MIG Alley over Korea in the 1950s. WSRE’s original, award-winning documentaries will also be broadcast including Honor Flight: A Journey of Heroes; Khaki Coast: How the Panhandle Helped Win WWII; Pensacola Veteran’s Memorial Park; and Gulf Coast War Memories. Full episodes of NOVA “Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor” and “Missing in MiG Alley”, along with selected clips from the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT (2012), will be featured on the day after broadcast. 

A full schedule and episode descriptions are below.

PBS Primetime Programming

Sunday, May 27, 2012, 7:00-8:30 p.m. CST (repeat 8:30-10:00 p.m.)
Join co-hosts Gary Sinise (“CSI: New York”) and Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”) in a night of remembrance featuring an all-star line-up of dignitaries, actors and musical artists in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra. The 23rd annual broadcast of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, and is broadcast to troops around the world on the American Forces Network.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Hell and Back Again”
Monday, May 28, 2012, 9:00-10:30 p.m. CST
What does it mean to come home from war — injured physically and psychologically — and build a life anew? As more and more veterans return from deployment, these questions must be answered not only by those who fought, but by their families, their friends and their fellow citizens. Filmed and directed by Danfung Dennis, “Hell and Back Again” transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man’s personal struggle back home in North Carolina. There, Sergeant Nathan Harris, with the love and support of his wife, Ashley, confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life. Contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, “Hell and Back Again” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.


NOVA “Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor”
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:00-9:00 p.m. CST
NOVA joins an exclusive dive beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace new clues to the dramatic 1941 sinking of the USS Arizona in which 1,177 crewmembers perished — the greatest loss of life in United States naval history.

NOVA “Missing in MiG Alley”
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:00-10:00 p.m. CST
In 1950, Russian and American fighters clashed over Korea in the fastest dogfights ever seen. The epicenter of the air campaign was MiG Alley, a strip of airspace between the Korean-Chinese border. Flying higher and faster than ever before, American and British pilots had little idea of the hidden dangers that awaited them if they were shot down. In “Missing in MiG Alley,” NOVA follows the poignant and sometimes harrowing efforts of family members to trace what happened to pilots who went missing more than a half-century ago.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 4:30-5:30 p.m. CST
WSRE proudly presents this original documentary, produced in high definition. Follow the journey of a group of Northwest Florida’s World War II veterans as they travel to Washington D.C. on the inaugural trip of Emerald Coast Honor Flight to visit the WWII Memorial erected in their honor.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 5:30-6:00 p.m. CST
Produced in high-definition, this original WSRE documentary describes how the Florida Panhandle evolved from the influx of the military during World War II. The Panhandle was home to five major training military bases, extending from Tallahassee in the east to Pensacola in the west. These installations made major contributions to the war effort, and ensured that the military's influence in the region would remain strong through the present day. The program was made possible by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 6:00-6:30 p.m. CST
In December of 1987, "The Moving Wall" -- a replica of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial -- arrived in Pensacola and was displayed for five days. When it came time for the wall to travel on, some of the veterans who had stood vigil while the wall was in town decided it was time Pensacola have a permanent monument to honor Vietnam vets. It was the start of a vision, the beginning of a tribute to those who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. With the help and support of family, friends, service members, and community and business leaders, their dream became a reality and the Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park was established on Bayfront Parkway. Today, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial is there, and over the years, the park grew to include monuments for WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Gulf War and the conflict in Iraq. WSRE traces the history of this park with archival photographs and footage, as well as interviews with those who made the dream a reality.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 6:30-7:00 p.m. CST
Archival film footage, faded photographs and memories of a war fought long ago are all woven together in Gulf Coast War Memories, sharing the stories of Northwest Florida’s citizens and veterans in their own words.  Share in the stories of those who lived through the Second World War, from the veterans who fought on the front lines to the citizens who served on the home front.

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About WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast
WSRE is a PBS member station that is locally owned and licensed to the Pensacola State College Board of Trustees operating as a service of Pensacola State College. The public broadcasting station has been serving the needs of the Gulf Coast community through programming, educational services and outreach since 1967. WSRE produces, acquires and distributes programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of its audience. The Educational Services unit for WSRE serves as the connection to teachers, parents, caregivers and children to extend the rich resources found in public television. For more information about WSRE, its services, programs or available resources, visit


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