What do American children experience when their fathers or mothers go to war - and when they come home?
More than 2.7 million American children have a parent who has served in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria. But most Americans are far from the front lines, as our country’s all-volunteer military represents 0.5 percent of the population. The significant difference in experience between those who go to war and those who don't has resulted in a wide gap in understanding the impacts of war. While many civilians want to know more, they lack ways to relate and connect.
Veteran Children: When Parents Go To War is a documentary film that illuminates the struggles, strengths, and perspectives of America's military children. The film provides a unique lens as families and children tell us their own stories in their own words.
The film promotes understanding of the effects of war on all who serve and sacrifice -- soldiers, families and children. It is a catalyst for meaningful discussions about war and aims to inspire civilians to connect with military families who deserve and need our interest, involvement, and support.
Why do these stories matter?
For all American children age 20 or younger, our country has been at war their entire lives. How have military families and children been impacted by war? How do we listen to their stories, learn from them, and connect to them? How can we bridge the military-civilian divide? This project will address these important questions and invite all Americans to engage in conversations about these topics.
What inspired the film project?
This project was started in 2013 by the mother of a combat veteran of the Iraq war, Susan Hackley, who wanted to bring Americans together to learn and have discussions about the impact of war. After a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, Susan partnered with an esteemed documentary filmmaker to interview military children and produce a film trailer.
Another veteran mother, Martha White Jackson, joined the team and helped create our short film, Veteran Kids, which features teenagers from military and non-military backgrounds discussing what it is like to have a parent go to war. It screened at numerous festivals and university campuses.
Together, we completed Veteran Children: When Parents Go To War, a half hour documentary which gives voice and visibility to a broad cross-section of military children and families who share how war affects those at home. It premiered on Indianapolis Public Television WFYI on April 18th, 2019. It was an Official Selection of seven film festivals and was nominated for a Regional Emmy Award. The film has been shown at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. and The National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Veteran’s Day.
Where do we want to show our film?
Going forward, we are seeking venues to show the film and inspire discussions, including at military service organizations, companies and conferences, places of worship, community groups, theatres and on television. We aim to show the film in middle schools, high schools and universities, as we’ve witnessed how receptive young people are to talking about these important issues. We are developing discussion guides for teachers to use as they prepare to show the film in the classroom.
Film awards for "Veteran Children: When Parents Go to War", a 30-minute documentary that is the centerpiece of the Veteran Children Project
Film awards for "Veteran Kids" our short film created as a part of the Veteran Children Project
Creative Visions Foundation is the proud fiscal agent of Veteran Children. Creative Visions Foundation is a publicly supported 501©3, which supports Creative Activists who use the power of media and the arts to affect positive change in the world. All donations are tax deductible.