Home Front

Institute History


To date, over 13,000 American troops have been wounded in Iraq. For soldiers seriously wounded in combat, the challenges upon returning home are daunting. The transition to civilian life is filled with physical rehabilitation, emotional difficulties, and fractured relationships.

But the American public doesn't see much of these soldiers. When they are flown home, their arrivals are often off-limits to the media. And unlike those killed in action, their names are seldom released.

For every Jessica Lynch– whose story was quickly packaged and mythologized by the media–there are thousands of soldiers whose stories are never told. Their stories do not have the "media event" appeal of Private Lynch. Often they are wounded in the most mundane of ways–while eating dinner, riding in the cab of a Humvee, or wandering off the road during a bathroom break.

But each wounded soldier does have a story to tell. Why they enlisted. How they were injured. What their hopes were before they were injured. And what the future now holds. These stories are filled with contradictions. Anger. Pride. Regret. Sorrow. But also hope and inspiration. And dignity and humor in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Soon after the start of the war in Iraq, 23-year-old Army Ranger Jeremy Feldbusch is hit by a piece of shrapnel that slices into his head just above his right eye, lodging in his brain and leaving him completely blind. He also suffers considerable damage to his frontal lobe, robbing him of his sense of smell, impairing his impulse control, and making him prone to unpredictable mood swings and seizures.

Home Front captures the human story of what happens when Jeremy returns to civilian life in his small hometown, as he readjusts to friends, family, community–and most importantly, his new, altered self. On another level, the film is also about Jeremy’s family, and how they adjust, reconfigure, and cope with events that have forever changed them.

The film is neither “anti-war” nor “pro-war”– the issues raised transcend politics and address the following key questions: Is the U.S. government and military doing enough for these soldiers? What are the gaps in the system? How do these soldiers and their families feel about war? And most importantly, how are these soldiers moving on with their new lives? Home Front allows room for the audience to decide on where they stand on the critical issues raised in
the film.

By turns heartbreaking and inspiring, Home Front gets behind the often-sanitized myth of war to reveal its true complications and costs. The overall message of the film is bittersweet. Jeremy and his comrades confront their new circumstances with a mix of anger, pride, and unexpected humor. Through inner-strength, family support, and camaraderie they are determined to both move forward, and to help the thousands of other casualties of war.

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