What to watch this Veterans Day

From "Airmen and the Headhunters"

On Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — stay tuned in the morning and early afternoon for coverage on news networks such as CNN, C-SPAN, FOX News Channel and MSNBC, which have traditionally covered the annual wreath-laying ceremonies at places such as Arlington National Cemetery. Your local news channels may also be covering ceremonies in your area.

Here are a few other notable TV programs honoring and remembering our veterans on and around Veterans Day:

“Best Vets” Movie MarathonAMC, Nov. 11 at 6:15am. A day of classic military movies, including Battle of the Bulge (1965), To Hell and Back (1955), Patton (1970) and First Blood (1982).

Airmen and the Headhunters PBS, Nov. 11 at 8pm ET (Check Local Listings). This documentary investigates the extraordinary survival story of a crew of airmen shot down over the jungles of Japanese-occupied Borneo during World War II. The film recounts the rescue of a U.S. bomber crew by Dayak tribesmen, known for taking the heads of their enemies. The Dayaks fed and protected the airmen before leading them to the base of the maverick British special ops officer, Major Tom Harrisson, who was fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese with a band of Australian commandoes. The program features an exclusive interview with the sole surviving member of the U.S. crew, as well as interviews with a number of the Dayak tribespeople and Japanese and Australian veterans.

POV: “The Way We Get By” PBS, Nov. 11 at 9pm ET (Check Local Listings). On call 24 hours a day for the past five years, a group of senior citizens has made history by greeting nearly 800,000 American troops at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. This is an intimate look at three of the greeters, Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Joan Gaudet.

Normandy American Cemetery

Hallowed Grounds PBS, Nov. 11 at 10:30pm ET (Check Local Listings). A rare visit to America’s extraordinary overseas military cemeteries. There are 22 World War I and World War II American military cemeteries in England, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Tunisia and the Philippines. The program weaves historical elements with contemporary scenes of the cemeteries and powerful stories about the men and women who are buried in them. It contains interviews with formal and informal historians and witnesses to the wars and the creation of the cemeteries.

Return Salute Military Channel, Nov. 11 at 10pm ET. Three on-location stories, in which returning military service persons are granted a special wish in return for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of their country. Staff Sergeant Steve Mitrisin missed some of his own miracles back home town of Pittsburgh: the birth of his first son and the world championships of the Steelers and the Penguins. After an emotional meeting with his newborn son for the first time, he is surprised with the opportunity to meet the Penguins team. At the game, 15,000 fans rise to salute Mitrisin and his family. While in Iraq, Lt. Jeremy Arnett arranged a marathon back home to raise funds for a fallen comrade. Now he meets the soldier’s grateful family, and receives a surprise invitation to run the Los Angeles Marathon, representing fallen families. Air Force Pilot Tom Marquardt lost his leg — and his flying status — carrying cargo to Afghanistan. In this special, he is given the hero’s welcome he never received and offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fly again.

Soldier and dog in Iraq

No Dog Left Behind Military Channel, Nov. 15 at 10pm ET. This is a documentary about the enduring friendships forged in wartime between military men and women and their canine comrades. It is a film that reveals the power of the human-animal bond to comfort, heal, and inspire the best in people in the worst situations; to find their humanity in the midst of dehumanizing conditions. The war in Iraq has seen an unusual number of troops rescuing stray dogs and caring for them, in spite of military prohibitions. Beyond the risks they have taken to save these animals’ lives, the soldiers and Marines in this film have also battled enormous odds to arrange their dogs’ safe passage to the United States. They did so without truly realizing how instrumental their dogs would be in helping them adjust to life after wartime and dealing with the losses they suffered during their deployment.


Airmen and the Headhunters: Courtesy of Dan Illerich

Hallowed Grounds: © 2005 New Voyage Communications Inc. Credit: Robert Uth

No Dog Left Behind: Credit Military Channel