On the eve of Veterans Day, a stage in downtown Miami will be filled with emotions from war. It's a way for those who have never been in battle, to understand what it can do to those who have.
NBC 6 is delighted to support the play "War Words," which will be performed by City Theatre and is being brought to Miami by the nonpartisan think tank the Atlantic Council. A discussion afterward will be moderated by our own Willard Shepard and playwright Michelle Kholos Brooks.
What are those moments like in battle when lives are on the line? When the bullets were flying in Iraq and Afghanistan and your family members, those you now work alongside, those you date, and even your friends found the strength to keep pressing on.
“It's great that this is going to be at the Adrienne Arsht Center because she is a pillar of the Atlantic Council," said Retired General David Petraeus, the former commander in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The play captured General Petraeus and many of his own experiences.
“I just found it very compelling. It captures so many different emotions and experiences and so forth that those who served in the wars of the post 9/11 period have experienced,” Petraeus said.
And many of those who have been in combat are right here in South Florida. With our Coast Guard bases, USSOUTHCOM in Doral, Army National Guard units, Air Force Reserve Fighter unit, and the popularity of veterans settling here, chances are you are in contact with someone who has seen war firsthand.
Kholos Brooks based the play on her conversations with veterans.
"It just depicts and communicates so much of what our veterans experienced when they were in uniform and their emotions. I think it's very important for our fellow citizens to understand," Petraeus said. “It conveys the sacrifice of family members. It captures the contribution and service of host nation battlefield translators — tens of thousands I might add are still in Afghanistan.”
And the way things finally unfolded in Afghanistan has been a source of deep frustration with those who served there — questions about if the lives lost and sacrifice were worth it in the end on this Veterans Day.
“I find it hard to describe what has happened in Afghanistan anything other than tragic, heartbreaking, and in many ways disastrous," Petraeus said. "It’s a very sad outcome and I fear that this is going to be a humanitarian catastrophe and in addition to a location where Islamist extremists will be able to build their capabilities."
NBC 6 is proud to be a sponsor of the program that is open to the public and free for veterans. For details on how to attend the play and the discussion moderated by this author, click here.