Where Soldiers Come From
“Where Soldiers Come From” is a bold look at three small-town guys from Michigan who join the National Guard but realize that promises are only as good as the paper on which they’re written.
The documentary begins by introducing our three main subjects — Dom, Cole and Bodi. All three of these young men have grown up together in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Out of high school and in need of money, the boys all join the National Guard. They figure that one weekend a month, two weeks a year is worth the money for school.
The documentary begins with the introduction of Dom, and he is probably the person that gets the most attention. He is an extremely talented artist. An abandoned loft is his canvas, which Dom is continually wiping clean to create something new. Cole is Dom’s longtime friend, who decides to join to be with his friend but to also pay for school, while Bodi, a younger member of the group, decides to join because of dedication to his friends.
Finally the boys are deployed to Afghanistan, and this is when the film feels like a lot of other war documentaries. At first, the boys really enjoy their time there but their enjoyment quickly wanes as the distance from home takes its toll along with being plagued by injuries and sickness. All sense of patriotism that the boys arrive to quickly goes away after the time spent overseas.
The second half of “Where Soldiers Come From” shows a different side of the military than most documentaries because you see how these small-town kids have changed for the worst and have nothing to show for it. Bodi has had so many TBIs (traumatic brain injury) that the doctors say his brain looks comparable to someone who has been playing football for 20 years. Cole has come home to a large debt to his university after the National Guard denies payment because he “didn’t” turn in his paperwork. Dom shows the most change. A once happy kid is now an irritable person. He tells the camera that he has no idea why. The littlest things could set him off, where before nothing ever bothered him.
It is heartbreaking to see that these kids have given their happiness and health to protect our nation and are then ignored by the very government that they have protected. I have to give it to the filmmakers for showing a different side to the story. If you have the chance to make it to the Heartland Film Festival, this is a solid film to see.