Nick News with Linda Ellerbee Celebrates July 4th Weekend by Honoring Kids of U.S. Troops in Coming Home: When Parents Return from War Premiering July 6, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon
NEW YORK.- By the end of July, 20,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan will have come home -- and today nearly half (43%) of all deployed U.S. troops are parents. Nick News with Linda Ellerbee honors the bravery and sacrifices of those men and women by honoring the bravery and sacrifices of their kids in a special, Coming Home: When Parents Return from War premiering Sunday, July 6, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.
In Coming Home, viewers are introduced to kids from around the country whose parents have been deployed. Says Michael, “When my stepdad went to Iraq, half of my heart went with him.” Says Emily, “I don’t think anyone who has a family member deployed really feels comfortable until the plane hits the ground and they’re back.” Says Kris, “It was great to see him come home and come through the door and be able to run up and give him a big hug.”
When parents go to war, their kids must be as brave as any soldier. But what happens after the parent returns? “Soldiers have expectations about what their kids are going to be like. Kids have expectations about what their soldier-parents are going to be like. And they’re all probably going to be wrong,” said Ellerbee.
The difference between expectation and reality means there are adjustments to be made. Some are easy. Some are not. According to Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, USA, some soldiers will have been so traumatized by their experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan that at first they’re going to be emotionally unable to connect with their families. Coming Home: When Parents Return from War, includes stories of kids who’ve had to take on grownup responsibilities while a parent was deployed, kids whose parent has returned suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or from physical wounds, and kids whose parent is not returning, ever.
“It’s not like he’s on a business trip and you know he’ll always come back,” says Kayleigh. “When he’s gone I feel guilty that I’m in this safe environment while he’s in this dangerous environment,” says Ca’Bria. When Kelli and Ethan’s dad lost his leg while fighting in Iraq, his kids had to deal with his anger issues too. “He would try to tell us things,” said Kelli, “and give commands like we were a soldier under him, but we were just his kids.”
One in five returning soldiers suffers from PTSD or depression. Carmen and Sabrine’s mother, Naomi, one of 300,000 women serving in the U.S. military today, has been diagnosed with PTSD, which has affected her daughters. Carmen says, “My mom being in Iraq changed her. She just seems different ... I wish she was just mommy again.”
Some kids are asked to make the ultimate sacrifice. Brenna and Michael’s dad was killed in Iraq in 2004. “When the doorbell rings and there are three Marines,” says Brenna, “you automatically know they’re going to tell you your dad died.” Michael says, “I know my dad is in a better place, but I wish he was still here because when he died, a chunk of my heart was basically pulled out.” Brenna says, “I think this experience makes me value life even more because it’s something that can be easily taken away, so knowing -- having this experience -- really shows you what’s important in life.”
And so, on this show, on this 4th of July weekend, Nick News takes the opportunity to say to all the soldiers -- and all their families, “Thank you.”
Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is now in its 18th year, and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Over the years, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations and numerous Emmy wins. Most recently, in 2007, “Private Worlds: Kids and Autism” won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 1994, the entire series, Nick News, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 1998, “What Are You Staring At?” a program about kids with physical disabilities, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 2002, “Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan,” won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 2004, two Nick News Specials, “The Courage to Live: Kids, South Africa and AIDS” and “There’s No Place Like Home,” a special about homeless kids in America, were both nominated for the Outstanding Children’s Programming Emmy. In 2005, it won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming for its show, “From the Holocaust to the Sudan.” Nick News is also the recipient of three Peabody Awards, including a personal award given to Ellerbee for her coverage for kids of the President Clinton investigation. The series has also received two Columbia duPont Awards and more than a dozen Parents’ Choice Awards.
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