Soldiers, Veterans, and War in American Life

Expand/Collapse Soldiers, Veterans, and War in American Life

These videos, images, and media-rich lesson plans allow you to bring stories from the battlefront into American history, world history, and health classrooms.

Explore the similarities and differences in veterans’ memories of World War II and Vietnam to uncover how these wars shaped American culture. Analyze artifacts and oral histories that reveal important experiences of a nation during times of conflict. Use recent veterans’ personal stories to engage in a discussion of how the choice to become a soldier and the experience of serving relate to personal values and goals.

Now find content from the PBS program Navy SEALs - Their Untold Story, which aired on November 11, 2014, in the Experiencing War, World War II, Vietnam War, and Iraq & Afghanistan sub-collections.

  • Taylor Urruella’s Story: Coping with Physical Disability | Coming Back with Wes Moore

    Taylor Urruella is a 28-year-old who lost his leg fighting in the United States Army. Initially, Taylor's transition back to civilian life was not a smooth one. But now, Taylor has found a new mission. Coming Back with Wes Moore documents Taylor's attempt to make one of the elite college baseball teams in the country, while simultaneously building an organization that helps returning veterans readjust to life through sports.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Letrice Titus’s Story: the Veterans’ Crisis Line | Coming Back with Wes Moore

    Examine the struggles faced by returning veterans through the eyes of Letrice Titus, a parent and a responder with the Veterans' Crisis Line. When Letrice's time in the military was complete, she searched for a way to continue to serve. She now helps veterans deals with issues such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Stacy Pearsall’s Story: Military Combat Photographer | Coming Back with Wes Moore

    Explore how Stacy Pearsall, a former military combat photographer, photographs veterans in an attempt to aid in the healing process for both her and her subjects. Pearsall suffers from short-term memory loss as a result of combat injuries, which put an end to her military career. She is one of only two women to be named Military Photographer of the Year. Her photos are seen throughout the series Coming Back with Wes Moore.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Tammy Duckworth’s Story: Congresswomen Advocating Veterans’ Rights | Coming Back with Wes Moore

    Meet Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq. She returned to the United States, recovered from her wounds, and now serves as Congresswoman from Illinois' 8th district. This clip chronicles her fight for veterans' causes on Capitol Hill, and her ability to connect with veterans of all generations in her home district.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Tell Me the Truth! Peggy Buryj | Your America

    Peggy Buryj went through something no parent should—the loss of a child. Her son Army Pfc. Jesse Buryj, was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. But what made the pain of his death so much worse was that she came to believe the Army was lying to her about how her son died. As a mother, she needed the truth. So this small town mom went to battle with the US military. Thanks to her efforts the Army is doing a better job of investigating and reporting military deaths.

    This video, from Your America, is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 9-12
  • 'Theater of War' Brings Hope to Wounded Soldiers

    A new concept that uses acting and the theater to help unlock the inner grief and suffering that many soldiers bring back from war zones is catching on.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Student Reporting Labs: Military Families

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on November 11th, 2013.

    On Veterans Day, most Americans think of the men and women in uniform. But military life also has a huge effect on their children.

    Grades: 7-12
  • 15 Percent of Iraq Soldiers May Have PTSD

    In this video, hear Paula Schnurr talk about how to help veterans process their experiences and ease their symptoms. War veterans have always suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the extent of that suffering wasn't measured before 1980, when the diagnosis was formalized.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Home Again

    Former soldiers from the Iraq war are forced to overcome injuries and deal with handicaps that they sustained overseas as they return to the Eastern Shore. These men focus on getting back to a normal life through a rehab program that encourages them to hunt and fish in the outdoors despite their injuries.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom | Navy SEALs - Their Untold Story

    Learn about the Navy SEALs’ operations in Iraq, including an in-depth look at a covert mission to capture Iraq's southern oil supply before the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. During these missions, the Navy SEALs often joined forces with the U.S. Army, working together to capture their targets. Hear from SEALs directly involved in this conflict, and understand the broader political context of the war in Iraq. 

    Grades: 6-12
  • 9/11 | Navy SEALs - Their Untold Story

    Learn how Navy SEAL teams responded to the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001. In the words of one Navy SEAL, 9/11 turned the SEALs from “a reactive force into a long-term fighting force," changing the way this elite military force is trained and deployed. 

    Grades: 6-12