The Impact of War

Families Share Soldiers' 'Last Letters Home'

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In an effort to allow as many Americans as possible to see 'Last Letters Home,' HBO and many cable providers are making the program free to almost all cable households.

Director Bill Couturié talks with Paula and Michael Zasadny, parents of Pfc. Holly McGeogh.

Producer and director Bill Couturié talks with Paula and Michael Zasadny, whose daughter, Pfc. Holly McGeogh, was killed in Iraq. Santa Fabio/HBO hide caption

toggle caption Santa Fabio/HBO

Just before Christmas last year, Pfc. Holly McGeogh, a 19-year-old soldier stationed in Iraq, wrote her mother a letter:

"I hope you have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. I know it won't be the same. It's gonna be different for me, too — My first Christmas ever by myself. I gotta be strong and so do you."

Several weeks later on Jan. 31, 2004, McGeogh was killed when an explosive device hit her vehicle during convoy operations in Kirkuk. She was buried in Brownstown Township, Mich. on her 20th birthday.

McGeogh's letter is one of many featured in Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq, a one-hour Veterans Day special on HBO. Produced and directed by Bill Couturié, the documentary features the families of eight men and two women killed in Iraq. Fathers, mothers and wives share poignant final e-mails and letters, some of which were received after news of the troops' deaths. NPR's Michele Norris talks with Couturié about the motivation behind his film.



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