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Your Welcome Story > Comments on the Cambridge, MA screening

1. Carol missed Cristina M's impassioned critique of the film and my agreement that it is not an anti-war film. Although I missed some of the dialogue (sound at times seemed fuzzy to me, probably more to do with me than it), I'm pretty sure that one Vietnam vet said right on the first day that we were the enemy, that that statement offended at least one of the other vets and so was not discussed, and --slightly less sure of this -- that the first vet was never heard from again.

I did sense throughout that the basic message was that these veterans are suffering, but for a good cause. No question, as Cristina said, of why the wars were fought, for whose benefit. So if we use the film, I would say to involve MFSO and Vets for Peace, and if possible conventional veterans' groups (VFW, Amer. Legion), and make it a way to launch a larger discussion of why there even are such veterans and whether we should continue to produce them in the future.

2. Eva,
You are the first I've heard from on the film last night.
Cristina spoke last night? Who is she? The fact that it was not a political film is what drew me to it...that it doesn't hit you over the head with a pro or anti war message. That the focus is on the veterans. Two vets disagreed on their view of Vietnam as to who was the enemy. The movie was supposed to be about their PTSD and how we as citizens can try to understand what it is like to come home. So I agree it is not an anti-war film and that it should be used as a way to open communications between vets and non-vets. As no one has discovered a cure for PTSD, the movie suggests to me that we should not produce any more veterans. I take it not many veterans showed up?
P.S.(from the website and DVD notes, the Vet who said he was the enemy in Vietnam has been an anti-war activist since Vietnam and continues to work for peace. The singing veteran (who picked up body parts) is writing and performing in the Oregon area. He and his wife who were separated at the time of the movie have reunited since.

3. Very powerful portrait of why we should abolish war. I feel that the film offered such intimacy that I wondered how the participating vets felt about opening to the world. The ticketed event seemed unnecessary. Each had developed their story in the small group. Wasn't that enough of a catharsis? We were in that small group! We need feedback from other vets on how this film should be used.

Carol, thanks for introducing it to us.

4.The film itself, as well as Cristina's remarks, make it clear why it would be hard for a combined audience of peace activists and vets to deal with this material. Not impossible but requires preparation.

I tried to make two points in favor of the film. First, I believe the filmmakers believe that many veterans need to heal before they can participate constructively in political debates about current and future wars. Additionally that the film in any case makes clear the damage and suffering caused by war and should make people think twice before approving wars. Consider the guy who picked up the body parts in Vietnam. He is still processing what he did 40 years ago and is not yet ready to move beyond that. When he does, he could be another Remarque.

I do not think the film promotes militarism but it does reflect it.

I recommend that we need to engage VfP or MFSO members to work with us in this project before moving farther ahead.

Dear Mass Action Peace Group,

Thanks for taking the time to screen this film and for your impassioned responses to it.

It has been very clear to us since we began the process of pulling this retreat and this film together that to go in an expressly political direction would have killed the project from the start. Instead our goal has been to portray, in as truthful and as emotionally honest a way as we could, the reality of post war experience for very many vets and family members. We wanted to do this in a way that invites civilians into this most intimate and personal of experiences, and in this way bring veterans and civilians both to a place where dialogue might be possible. In this way some healing is possible, both for vets and for civilians.

Your efforts toward peace are great and while we may personally support them, the film is intended to go below the level of political discussion to touch the heart and soul of men and women, veterans AND civilians, as we grapple with war and its aftermath. And it may in the end help decision makers think twice before committing the nation to war.

We thank you again for opening your community to this film and the message it carries.


Bill McMillan, Producer
The Welcome

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMass Action Peace Group

Just some corrections for Eva & Carol. First, my husband and I were NOT SEPARATED at the time of the retreat/movie making and, for that matter, have never been separated in 34 years of marriage. But our marriage WAS in big trouble before the retreat. The retreat helped me in a big way to understand and forgive my husband for the many years of trauma/drama behavior. Our marriage since has never been stronger. I, for the most part, have found peace and happiness with my warrior at home.

Second, my husband HAS moved past what he did 40 years ago, partly thanks to the retreat & partly due to his own strength & determination to "live life well". He has found healing by helping to heal others with his music and his mentoring of the younger Vets coming home today. I don't know about Remarque, but Bob has written some great short stories and dozens of heartfelt songs about his experiences as a VN soldier & as a veteran dealing with the challenges of "coming home" to an ungrateful nation and an inept, overwhelmed Veterans Administration.

Third, The Welcome is NOT a political movie (as Bill McMillan clearly states in previous post), and had we known that it would be used that way, we probably would have not taken part in the retreat/movie. I kinda resent that anyone, or any group, would take and distort the real message of this movie in order to advance their own political agendas (i.e. Pro War, Anti War, etc.) That just ruins the whole idea of why this inspiring movie was conceived and made. And I'm almost positive that most of the participants in this Project feel the same way.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Eaton

Interesting what people take away from this movie. Eva and Carol, I hope you are more clear about the premise of the project. It was never about a movie, but about an understanding between community and warriors. You get to see that we are as human, loving and as real as you are. Wars will never go away, and neither will those who fight them, we can at least welcome those who return and treat them with the respect they deserve instead of a poster child of what to expect if you do happen to serve. Perhaps if that happened 40 years ago a lot of us would still be alive after returning home.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob Eaton

Thank you Melissa and Bob for your comments. Sorry for the error on your marriage status at time of the movie. I admire your devotion to each other. As a member of an organization that advocates for peace it is not often that we have non-'political' films. It is my hope that the movie will open up discussions between people who don't often meet. And I think, call me crazy, it is possible that wars will be eliminated in the far distant future. Perhaps in the short term we can have fewer wars and, as Bill says, think twice before we send our men and women into them.

Thank you for your contribution to the movie and the discussion and patience with our search for understanding.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol