Veterans Day film honors those who have served

Posted at: 11/11/2012 9:36 PM
Updated at: 11/11/2012 10:35 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Veterans Day, 11-11-11. That date, last year, photojournalists and film makers went around the country, showcasing the lives of different veterans from various backgrounds and military engagements.

It was all captured last Veterans Day.

Since May, the documentary has been seen at various theatres across the country.

This Veterans Day, the film made its way to Albuquerque at the KiMo Theatre. Several veterans who live in Albuquerque participated in the film.

Also, a photographer who shot portions of the documentary came to the showing. Sgt. Toby Montoya served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device and cannot walk because of brain injuries. He talked about how the film helped him cope.

"Knowing that there was a lot of people around me that had been through similar experiences, no matter what the war was. We all experienced what war truly showed us," he said.

Montoya hopes many people will see the film, especially some of his friends currently serving outside the U.S.

"I want to get it overseas so my friends can see it, who are in Kuwait, who are in Afghanistan, still. And let them know that they're not forgotten," he said.

Eric Ortegren is another veteran who participated in the documentary. He served with the Airborne in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.

He hopes this film will be a wake-up-call to people who take veterans lightly.

"It's so easy not really to acknowledge what veterans have done for this country, even though we're very prevalent in society," Ortegren said.

He already watched the documentary, but said every time he sees it, emotions come out.

"Funny how seeing myself trying not to cry made it just as difficult to not be as emotional, watching myself become emotional," he said.

Carey Moots is one photographer who shot stories, like Ortegren's and Montoya's. He filmed the veterans from the Hopi tribe who had a large number of veterans in all wars, especially the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.

"Go to the airport, you see veterans coming and going. A lot of times you don't know what to say to them. I think we're all very thankful," Moots said.

One particular story that moved Moots was about a father whose son died while serving in the Middle East. Instead of killing himself, the father started planting trees in his son's honor, and also the honor of other fallen soldiers.

Another anecdote comes from a mother whose son died from a roadside bomb. The son's dog served with him, but the dog survived.

The military gave the dog to the mother, who walks with the dog during military parades.

"Every one of those veterans you see, there's a huge story behind them. They all have done incredible stuff," he said.