Remarks by Kary Antholis ‘84
George Foster Peabody Awards Presentation
Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, N.Y.
May 23, 2011
The Pacific miniseries explores the struggles of young men — boys, actually — not only to stay alive but also to stay human in horrific warfare. In the miniseries, we meet Andy Haldane, a marine commander who was particularly sensitive to the welfare of his recruits.
The boys who served under Andy regarded him as a father figure. And yet he was not much more than a boy himself, just 25 years old when he became a captain. During production, we found a series of letters written during the war between Andy and the dean of his alma mater, Bowdoin College.
Many war movies show us heroism in battle, but these letters show a different kind of heroism — a young man striving to retain and project his humanity as the world around him descends into carnage. In the letters Andy writes of his friendships, his pride and his fear. He asks the dean to wish him luck and perhaps cross a finger or two for him. The dean responds: “These fingers of mine are so tightly crossed that they hurt.”
And then on October 12, 1944, Andy Haldane raised his head from cover and a bullet found him, killing him instantly. The dean shared his correspondence with Andy’s parents who wrote back that they were deeply moved and found great solace in their boy’s empathy and humanity.
For over two millenia of human warfare, it has been said:
In peace, sons bury their fathers.
In war, fathers bury their sons.
A corollary to that idea might be:
In peace, parents protect their kids’ ideals;
In war, kids protect their parents’ ideals.
On behalf of the filmmakers and my colleagues at HBO, we thank the Peabody Awards for this honor and dedicate it to the memory of all those who have served and sacrificed for our ideals.