GPB original production, “Instant Iraq,” premieres Monday

Wed, 04/11/2007 - 2:52pm
By: The Citizen

The new GPB Original Production “Instant Iraq” captures the many ways new technologies help Georgians stay connected to deployed soldiers and to find support among each other on the home front. The program premieres Monday, April 16 at 9 p.m. in conjunction with “America at a Crossroads,” a new PBS series comprised of 11 films that explores the challenges confronting the post 9/11 world, including the war on terrorism, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the experiences of American troops.

In the age of instant, global communications, a new "first" is taking place. It’s happening in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq and in homes across America. The War on Terror is the first conflict where families can have instant communications with soldiers in the battlefield. Choices abound: satellite and cell phones, Internet connections for email, instant messaging and web-cams, and videoconferencing. A new personal and stark reality comes into the homes of Americans instantly. Yet it comes out of the desire to stay connected with loved ones and maintain the bonds of home.

“Instant Iraq” captures the experiences of military wives such as Army Reservist wife and mother, Christie Kretsinger of Austell; Army wives Stacey Abler of Savannah, Tara Crooks of Richmond Hill and Starlett Henderson of Statesboro. The program features the stories of military parents, like Army mom Debbie Britt of Peachtree City and Army Reservist mom Karen Law of Lithonia. Beyond families, the program explores the work of individuals and former veterans like Bob Babcock of Marietta and Gene Altman of Jesup who use technology to support military families, soldiers in the field, and returning troops.

For Debbie Britt, whose son David recently returned from a one-year deployment in Iraq, her venture into Internet user groups and the use of Instant Messaging changed the course of her everyday life. Britt says she kept her computer on at night, and when she heard the sound of an Instant Message, she would know her son was back from a mission. Britt also received news by an Instant Message that her son had been shot. Fortunately, his injury was not serious, but nevertheless alarming.
"Now you talk about getting your emotions together-on one hand my heart was coming out of my chest, and on the other hand, with every keystroke I saw him make, I knew he was okay," Britt says.

“Instant Iraq” was produced with a grant from Washington, D.C. public television station WETA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of GPB’s participation in an extensive media and outreach campaign for “America at a Crossroads” that aims to create a national dialogue surrounding crucial issues explored in the series. This 30-minute documentary was produced by GPB Senior Producer Mike Britt of Peachtree City.

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