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Bedford: The Town They Left Behind (2009)

Like the young men in many small American towns during and after the Great Depression, the boys of Bedford, Virginia, joined their local National Guard unit. They were paid one dollar for ... See full summary »

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Like the young men in many small American towns during and after the Great Depression, the boys of Bedford, Virginia, joined their local National Guard unit. They were paid one dollar for every weekend training session - a lot of money in 1941 - and they were given a snazzy uniform to wear that pleased the ladies. Not a bad deal. What they couldn't have foreseen was that Japan would attack Pearl Harbor and draw the United States - and their little Guard unit - into a war that everyone hoped would end all wars. In no time at all, these fresh-faced soldiers were torn from the arms of their girlfriends and new wives and found themselves in training camps, learning to fight for their country. Eventually these boys who had not yet seen a minute of battle would become the first to hit the beaches of Normandy on what we now know as D-Day. An ocean away, their families gathered around radios listening for news. Eventually a wave of telegrams arrived informing Bedford how great a sacrifice it ... Written by The Johnson Group

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This cross-generational story - at various moments tragic, romantic and inspiring - is a thought-provoking, emotional look at those who go to the battlefronts and those they leave behind.

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11 January 2009 (USA)  »

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A strange and ultimately revolting film
29 December 2011 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I cannot help but feel in my soul, a deep sense of disgust upon seeing this film - not for those who are the main subject matter of it, the men and women of Bedford, VA who suffered as much as any American community during World War II, but for the sickening juxtaposition of a great war of necessity against fanatical and highly organized brutality and depravity, versus one of choice against a country of mostly illiterate peasants barely elevated beyond the dark ages. The former was waged with all possible care for the safety of the citizen soldiers who filled the ranks, while the latter seems to consist merely of disconnected episodes fought by mercenaries desirous of a place in history. The deaths of tens of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians at our hands is perhaps an American sin as irredeemable as slavery, and the fate of these innocent people is not even mentioned. That the war itself is a complete and absolute failure, is apparently not worth considering.

By forgetting the lessons of war's terrible cost, and treating it as a first rather than a last option, one of choice and not of necessity, the memory of the men of the 29th Infantry Division who died on Omaha Beach is smirched in a way that could scarcely be exceeded.

Had mention of the Afghan atrocity been left out of this film, it would be one of the most moving and beautifully made films one could imagine. But to dishonor the memory of those men as is done in this film, is nothing short of moral bankruptcy, and makes a true American fear for the future, no, the soul, of his country.

-drl


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