Posts Tagged ‘veterans’

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The West Wing.  I stream the entire seven seasons from beginning to end at least twice a year. It’s one of the things I do when I have work to do, like writing, is that I stream shows or movies that I have seen a gazillion times because I don’t have to watch those with undivided attention to appreciate them.  Over the weekend, while trying to get some writind done,  I began to stream it once again.

One of the things I like about the show, aside from the excellent acting and the political comment, is that almost every episode leaves me thinking about some topic in the show, and often it makes me cry.  One of these episodes was in Season 1, episode 10, titled “In Excelsis Deo”. In this particular episode, there were a couple of very poignant situations that left me with tears in my eyes.  First, there was a storyline in which a young homosexual youth was tortured and beaten to death because he was gay.  The description of the crime, along with the reactions of the characters, are quite moving.  Another storyline involved a homeless war veteran who froze to death in view of the Capitol.  Toby, a regular on the show who plays the White House Communications Chief, is called by D.C. police to identify the body.  He doesn’t know the man but the man was wearing his coat with his business card in the pocket.  It turns out that Toby had donated that coat to the Goodwill, that’s how the homeless man got it.  Toby, seeing a tattoo on the homeless man, realizes that the man was a Korean War veteran.  He calls around and finds out that the man was a recipient of the Purple Heart.  There is no information available on him, which means no one in his family has been notified.  So Toby go to where the man died and asks around if anyone knew him.  He is sent to a location in D.C., under an overpass, where homeless gather to eat and sleep.  He finds the dead man’s brother there and tells him about the death and learns that there is no one else in the family.  Toby arranges a military funeral for the dead man.  Mrs. Landingham, who we discover earlier in the same episode lost twin sons in the Vietnam war, asks to accompany Toby to Arlington National Cemetery.  Someone asks Toby if he knew the dead man and when he says no, he is asked “then why do you care?”  He answers, “because somebody should.” That makes me cry every time I watch it. In fact, it is such a touching moment, I sometimes replay that part a couple of times before going on to the next episode.

I think that TV is at its best when it moves us to feel, to act, to think, and to remember.  This show does all of that for me.  I think that’s why the series will always be unforgettable.

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