Veterans Day may be over, but that hasn't stopped the powers that be at Days of our Lives from continuing to salute our nation's war heros.
In an episode scheduled to air in January 2012, Days will honor current and retired U.S. troops by dedicating the episode to veterans returning home and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. This will continue the show's long history of exploring real life social issues and representing the show's vast variety of viewers and their struggles.
Taking what The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless did on their respective Veteran's Day episodes a few steps further, actual veterans will appear as themselves in the episode, which focuses on psychiatrist "Marlena Evans," played by Deidre Hall, taking Matthew Ashford's "Jack" to a veteran's hospital and visiting with patients struggling with returning home and their memories of war.
A journalist who was kidnapped and held in Afghanistan while on assignment, "Jack" has returned to his home in Salem, but struggles to fit back in to his former life and face the reality of what he was put through, leading to issues dealing with stress and the pressure of strained relationships with his ex-wife and daughter.
Joining the cast are a group of actual veterans, including Captain Leslie Nicole Smith, a former Army Public Affairs Officer, who retired due to a blood virus she contracted in Bosnia which resulted in the loss of her left leg, complete vision in her left eye, and some loss to her right eye's vision. She currently speaks around the country to veterans and other victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"With President Obama's recent announcement that we will bring home our troops, we thought it was an important issue to address and let our family of viewers know we care about them," said Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng.
Of course, incorporating a real-life war vet into soap opera storytelling is not new. J.R. Martinez (Brot Monroe, All My Children), currently the fan favorite to win this season's Dancing with the Stars, was cast on All My Children a few years ago after a nation-wide talent search for a young solider who'd suffered loss during his/her time in battle. As any soap fan knows, Martinez was badly burned when his humV hit a land mine, but it hasn't slowed him down one bit.
Soapdom applauds soap operas delving into these kinds of stories, because they are very real to many of us. Like the soaps, Soapdom honors the efforts and sacrifices our war heros make to keep our homeland safe and secure.
Did you know? Days of our Lives is NBC's longest-running
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