Specials from PBS and ABC are among the programming standouts this week presented in honor of Veterans Day on Friday.
PBS’ award-winning documentary series “POV” salutes Thursday, Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. with “Where Soldiers Come From,” a film that follows high school grad Dominic Fredianelli and his buddies who join the National Guard near their remote northern Michigan hometown as a quick way to earn college tuition, only to find themselves fighting both enemies seen and unseen in Afghanistan.
The film continues to follow the young men back in their hometown after a four-year deployment, where new problems begin to surface.
“I felt it was important to follow these guys for a long time before they ever became soldiers so that the viewer would really know them and their families,” says director/producer Heather Courtney. “For these young men and their loved ones, the war doesn’t end when they come home. I hope my film can help people better understand the war at home — the one that affects the parents, girlfriends and loved ones left behind when soldiers are deployed and the one that continues when they come back and try to start their lives again.”
The documentary’s 9 p.m. premiere on PBS follows President Obama’s announcement of executive action to help veterans. The film also wraps the 24th season of POV (Point of View). The film will stream in its entirety on the POV website, www.pbs.org/pov/wheresoldierscomefrom, Nov. 11 – Dec. 11.
On Friday at 8 p.m., ABC presents the one-hour “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Veterans Day Special,” featuring hosts Ty Pennington and singer/songwriter Jewel taking viewers through some of the most heartwarming military stories featured on the show over the years.
The “EMHE” crew will also pay a visit to select heroic families to find out what they’ve been up to since the makeover and how they are paying it forward by helping their fellow veterans. The special will culminate in a celebratory event that will feature an audience of active-duty service members and veterans, in addition to a live musical performance by Jewel.
Famous faces will appear throughout to encourage the public to donate via phone and web at www.riseandhonor.org. Celebrity appearances include Whoopi Goldberg, George Lopez, J.R. Martinez, Rachael Ray, Sherri Shepherd, Robin Williams and Major League Baseball players Daniel Murphy of the Mets, Shane Victorino of the Phillies and Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox.
Net proceeds will benefit the following veteran-serving organizations: Fisher House Foundation, Hire Heroes USA, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, USO (United Service Organizations), Volunteers of America, and Welcome Back Veterans.
Also on Friday, ESPN will air the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball matchup between Michigan State and North Carolina, which will be played aboard the USS Carl Vinson positioned in San Diego Harbor. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. with Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and Andy Katz describing the action.