A Hero's Story at Tribeca: Jerabek

Ryan Jerabek, an honors student and varsity athlete from Green Bay, Wisconsin, was moved by the events of September 11th to join the Marines. Just weeks after graduating from high school, Ryan left for boot camp. Nine months later, on a day that marked the largest loss of US troops since the beginning of the war, he was killed in a firefight in Ramadi.

, a new documentary premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, is an intimate account of the Jerebek family's grief and pride at their son's service and sacrifice. PFC Ryan Jerabek was an American hero. And in the years after his death, his mother and father dedicated themselves to supporting their son's fellow troops. Now Ryan's younger brother plans to follow in his footsteps and join the Marines.

The film provides a candid accounting of the often unseen human costs of war, as they are borne by families and communities across the country. Scenes of Ryan's mother carefully preserving every artifact of her son's military life, from his uniform to the wrapping on care packages she had sent him, demonstrate the real price of war in a way the grandstanding of politicians or the rhetoric of TV talking heads simply never will.

IAVA and I are proud to support the Jerabek family and this moving film. The Jerabeks will be at the first three screenings at Tribeca to talk about their experiences and to take questions from the audience. IAVA representatives and I will be there to participate in the discussions. If you are in New York this week, please buy a ticket now and join us. It is absolutely critical that we show the film industry that Jerabek has an audience in America. We can do that by filling seats at these shows.

For the many Americans for whom the Iraq War has exacted little or no personal commitment, and especially for the politicians in Washington whose choices affect the lives of the troops like Ryan every day, this film should be required viewing.

See the trailer for Jerabek here: