Have a great school year and a happy labor day.

Looking at my niece Hunter growing up by the minute, my heart goes out to all the children of our soldiers who are starting this year with some of the changes being a military family can bring: some may have just moved to a new town and must start by making new friends, some have welcomed a parent back home, others may have had to say goodbye to one.

For most of these kids, an afterschool activity, whether it is sports, science, art, or music will be a great way to fit in, have fun, discover a hidden talent, and maybe for a moment, forget and just be a regular kid.

However, many Guard and Reserve families are so financially stretched they cannot afford the fees for sports, fine arts, or tutoring programs so crucial to their children’s sense of well being. Children of wounded warriors face similar financial difficulties along with the challenges of learning to adapt to the physical, mental, and emotional changes in a loved one.

Our Military Kids, founded in 2004, stepped in to fill some of the gaps these families may face with a simple grant program that pays for children’s activities.

The Brothers At War team felt this was a great organization to raise funds for with our back to school post. Eligible families apply for a grant and within days of receiving the application in the Our Military Kids office, a packet is sent to the child thanking them for their service to our country and notifying them of the award, and a check is sent directly to the activity’s service provider.

During the month of September, with every purchase made through our website, we will donate $2 to Our Military Kids on your behalf. You will also receive an additional $2 off the purchasing price.
Simply click on the “buy the DVD” button on the upper right to be taken to our store page. And make sure to enter “ourkids” at checkout.

You can also make a donation directly to Our Military Kids by visiting their website . If you know a family that could benefit from a grant, please direct them there. And make sure to mark your calendar: During the month of October, you will be able to vote for them through the Pepsi Refresh Project and hopefully help them win big!

Once again, I want to thank you all for the support you have provided. Your feedback and suggestions by email or on our Facebook and Twitter walls, is always welcome. Keep it coming!

Have a great back to school month, and enjoy a wonderful, family-filled Labor Day weekend.

Jake Rademacher and The Brothers At War team.

Happy 4th Everyone!

I wanted to wish all of you out there a Happy 4th of July! Thank you to all who have walked in the footsteps of our forefathers and paid the price for the freedom that we all enjoy. America was a dream. It is a reality because of the many sacrifices and achievements of our warriors in the field and the families back home that have sent them in to the fray.

The toughest fight we are embroiled in at the moment is in Afghanistan. Not only are we fighting the Taliban and Al Queda and their allies, but we are also fighting for the people. Empowering them was a key to success in Iraq and it will be a vital key to success in Afghanistan.

I have shared the experience that many of our service members have had in having all our pens cleaned out by children. David Scantling recently back from Afghanistan, told me that having a pen is a status symbol for children there, because all of the important people have pens. In a country with a pre war 11% literacy rate (Library of Congress), it is not hard to imagine why.

Handing out school supplies builds a link between our service members and also helps support a more educated populace. This one on one relationship builder has also helped the literacy rate in Afghanistan improve to 28% (UN Development Report).

We thought it appropriate to show support on July 4th for Operation Iraqi Children that buys and supplies service members with school supplies to the children Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operation Iraqi Children was created by Gary Sinise and Laura Hillenbrand after soldiers passing through the Iraqi Villages discovered the poor states of the schools and the lack of basic supplies, making it a struggle for children to simply “learn.” In partnership with People to People International, many soldiers stationed in Iraq (and in other nations served by American troops) work together on their days off to gather supplies sent by friends and families and give them to local schools.

There are many ways to support OIC: the folks close to Kansas City can donate their time and help assemble School Supply Kits to be shipped; those further away can build their own kit and mail it to them. (Please visit the How you can help tab on their homepage 

Finally, you can also help the BAW team raise some much needed funds for them. Just enter “independence” at checkout and Brothers at War will donate $2 for every DVD, or limited edition signed poster, and $1 for every mini-poster bought during the month of July. You will also receive a 10% discount on your purchase.

And thank you again for your amazing support. By being active in our Facebook community, forwarding our newsletter to friends and family, purchasing the film and simply talking about Brothers At War, we are able to continue sharing our story all over the world.

Happy 4th of July!

Jake

Happy Father’s Day

This father’s day, Major Isaac Rademacher has a special reason to celebrate. Logan Theodore Rademacher was born just in time to be with him for Memorial Day.

Is he cute or what?

But it reminded me of other years when Isaac has been deployed during Father’s Day, and brought to my mind all those service members who will not be home to celebrate it this year.
Youtube Isaac’s 4th deployment and family

This father’s day, we wanted to support an organization which helps fathers who have been wounded serving our country provide a home for themselves and their families. Our Executive Producer, Gary Sinise has been supporting this organization and brought it to my attention. Building Homes for the Heroes provides individuals, corporations and members of the community with the opportunity to help to build homes for 
families of disabled and injured veterans, giving them the opportunity to rebuild their life. For more information, please visit their website

In order to support Building Homes for the Heroes, we are doing a Father’s Day special. Click on the “Buy the DVD” link at the top and enter “father” at checkout: In addition to receiving a $2 discount off the purchase price, we will donate an additional $2 to Building Homes For Heroes on the sale of every DVD!

Thank you for your continued support. Happy Father’s Day!

Jake

Back from Colorado Springs!

Quick thanks to Sven and team from USAA for a great screening and event in Colorado Springs last Thursday! I really enjoyed spending time with all the Vets and family of service members there.

You could feel the emotion in the packed room after the screening: the questions were very poignant. I am honored to be able to spend time with so many people who have served our country. Humbled that so many feel that Brothers at War tells their story as well.

It was a lot of fun to have the chance to speak with service members, veterans, and some very proud parents after the screening. Especially cool to talk with a Vet from the 82nd who made four combat jumps in WW II and Gen. Steve Richie, America’s last fighter ace.

Looking forward to another great event with USAA in San Antonio in August!

Jake

Brothers At War’s Television Premiere on Memorial Day

Dear Friends,

Thank you again for the support you have given Brothers at War. I wanted to share with you that Showtime has decided to make the National Television Premiere of Brothers at War at 8 PM on Memorial Day!

This ever greater exposure and viewing of the film means that the accurate portrait of our American Military Families is reaching an ever greater audience. It is my hope that audiences are as inspired by the people I got to know and those I got to know better on my journey into the lives of my two brothers. All of their experiences leave me humbled and deeply appreciative.

For those of you who do not have access to Showtime but would still like to see the film, click on the “buy the DVD link” to the right and enter “Memorial” at checkout to receive 20% off.

Have a wonderful weekend,
God Bless you all.

Jake.

Greetings from Cannes

Being at the Cannes was an amazing experience. It is exciting to see “Brothers at War” begin to reach an international audience. I enjoyed spending time with Morris, Sam, Brain and Erin from the Shoreline Team who are doing a great job representing the film.

While taking in the fireworks, attending some of the parties, and being out for dinner, I had an opportunity to speak with people from around the world. I was struck by their curiosity and eagerness to see a film about Iraq where the filmmaker had actually been there, and where they as the viewer get to go there as well.

A view point and perspective has been created about our country and our service members from the limited coverage that has gotten out into the main stream internationally. It is invigorating to think that our film can help to change people’s minds about America and our service members. I think one of the values of the film is that it allows you to personally meet a number of service members on the front lines. Through that collage a portrait comes into focus. Hopefully, the opportunity to spend two hours with our service members on the front lines and the family back home will start to open minds and bring people from other countries a more truthful picture of who is serving in Iraq and what they are doing.

I wanted to send a special thank you to Jack Kelly for creating and airing the radio spot for Brothers At War during the Film festival. You can click on the link below to listen to it. Thank you also to France 24 who I enjoyed interviewed by at Cannes.

Cannes Radio Spot

It was also a very cool to see the film advertised on the back cover of Screen Magazine and in the hands of those attending the festival.

Spending time overseas gave me an opportunity to share what I love about our country. I believe when others have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of our military families, and what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will go along way in our relationships with others from around the world.

Peace,

Jake.

Jake

2010 GI Film Festival

Thank you to all those who are helping Brothers at War go International! Thank you also to Paul Brian for introducing us to Jack Kelly who is playing a radio commercial for Brothers at War on his two radio stations in Cannes 64 times over the next four days!

For all of you in DC, I wanted to let you know that tonight Lt Dan Band For The Common Good will be playing at the GI Film Festival. I have had the opportunity to see this excellent film by Jonathan Flora: In addition to the great music and the interactions with the troops all over the world, the film peers into a man’s quest to do what he can do to support those for whom he cares deeply for and admires. It is both moving and inspirational. Gary Sinise and Jonathan Flora will be in attendance.

On Friday night, Patrol Base Jakerl will make its World Premiere! David Scantling journeyed to Afghanistan where he embedded with a Marine unit in the dangerous Helmand Province. Drawing from his expert background in economic rehabilitation of war torn countries, he captured the philosophy and execution of counter insurgency strategy in action. I am personally jealous of all who get to be the first in the world to see this important work!

These are just two of many great films and events happening at the GI Film Festival this week. Go to GI Film Festival to explore all the great films that they are helping to launch and take this opportunity to interact with the filmmakers, festival executives, and patriotic celebrities who are dedicated to telling the GI’s story.

Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, I asked Jennifer Rademacher to write about a particular poignant Mother’s Day. Please share some of your experiences by commenting on the post.

Jennifer Rademacher
Army Wife and Mother currently stationed at Fort Polk, LA with husband Isaac and 6 year old daughter Hunter
Former Captain, with 5 years of service in the 82d ABN DIV

As we head toward Mother’s Day, with the due date of our second child looming, I am reminded of one year in particular that was so bittersweet as an Army wife and mother. When our daughter, Hunter, was six months old, my husband left on his third deployment. He chose to take his fifteen days of R and R in accordance with her first birthday on April 26th. It was an occasion he truly did not want to miss. We had a wonderful party; both sides of our families were able to attend even though they had to travel very far for just a short weekend event. As it turned out, we had to bring him to the airport to return to Iraq on Mother’s Day, 2005.

After a lot of tears at the gate, I returned home with my baby girl to our empty house. On the counter were a dozen red roses and a note. It says: “Dear Mom, Dad and I love you so much and thank you for bringing Daddy home for my first birthday. We love you, Love Hunter.” Then an additional paragraph from Isaac which says: “Jenny, Hang in there. Hunter and I are the luckiest. I’m very proud of you and thankful for you on Mother’s Day. I love you. Isaac.”

This short note is one of my proudest possessions; it now sits in a shadow box with the dried roses from that bouquet above my desk and always brings a smile to my face. My husband had no idea at the time how much it would mean to me and was pleasantly surprised to come home after his twelve month deployment to see it so prominently displayed. I sometimes joke with friends and family that I am a single mother but unfortunately, my husband’s profession makes this more reality than a joke time and again. Those of us that are married to men serving our country know that we rarely come first. When we start having children, the situation deteriorates further because our children become the most important part of our lives. Being an Army wife and mother is a selfless obligation that makes the slightest sign of appreciation feel like a true mark of achievement.

As Army wives and mothers, I know I speak for everyone when I say that we do not expect any praise for our daily sacrifices. It is the sacrifices our children involuntarily have to make which truly break our hearts. We must be extra vigilant as our children deal with having a father on a deployment. Explaining to a small child why Daddy is leaving and won’t be back for holidays or birthdays is a hard task to accomplish. We rarely get to draw within ourselves to worry for our husband’s safety; our children need us to be present, compassionate, and engaged in everyday life as they struggle to comprehend a soldier’s profession and that his absence does not equate to a lack of love.

This Mother’s Day, we also need to remember the amazing sacrifices of active duty mothers across the military. Having been one, I know that this is the most difficult sacrifice I ever had to make. Choosing your country over your own child is purely selfless, these mother’s have taken it upon themselves to make this country a better one for all of our children’s futures and we need to thank them.

I hope that this Mother’s Day, all the mothers and wives of those serving our country receive a show of appreciation from their spouse and children. We are the backbone of all military families and we love what we do.

We also wanted to further support an organization which Cindy McCain and Gary Sinise helped us raise money for last year by doing a special promotion for Blue Star Mothers.
Click on the “Buy the DVD” link at the top and enter “mother” at checkout: In addition to receiving a $2 discount off the purchase price, we will donate $2 to Blue Star Mothers on the sale of every DVD! Buy 2 and receive free shipping. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing moms out there.

Brothers At War raises money for Snowball Express

As April is “Month Of The Military Child” all of us at Brothers At War wanted to reach out and show our support for some of those who have sacrificed the most: the children of our fallen warriors.

We have chosen to raise money for the wonderful organization “Snowball Express”, who has been providing hope by creating new memories for them: Since 2006, Snowball Express has taken these children and their families on a fun mini-vacation, giving them a piece of their childhood back, enabling them to meet others “just like them” and talk about it; creating new friendships that will last a lifetime but more importantly, putting a priceless smile on their faces, letting them know “it’s OK to laugh!”

Throughout the month of April, we will be donating money to Snowball Express with every purchase made through our website. Simply click on the Buy DVD link on top and enter “snowball” at checkout: Not only will you get $2 off the purchase of the DVD. We will donate an additional $2 to Snowball Express on your behalf.

For more information on Snowball Express, please click here

A visit to Fort Hood, Killeen

I really enjoyed hanging out with the wounded warriors at Fort Hood a couple of weeks ago. Great meeting them and hearing some of their stories. It was awesome that USAA treated them and their families to a screening and reception in Killeen that night. Their response to the evening and film was moving and one I will not forget. Thank you for your service on behalf of us all. Grateful, that I had an opportunity to spend some time with all of you: this is one of the things I look forward the most and hope to always be able to do so!
Jake