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Anna on the Homefront

From: Whit Richardson
Length: 09:20

An intimate look at a wife of a National Guard member deployed to Iraq

Jasonsign_small Anna Cyr is the wife of a member of the Maine National Guard who is deployed to Iraq with the 133rd Engineer Battalion. She lives in Lewiston, Maine, with her sister-in-law, who is married to Anna's husband's brother, who is also in Iraq with the 133rd. They create a new household where they support each other financially, emotionally, and with the practical everyday things, until their husbands return home. This piece was developed from an expanded written documentary I undertook as a writing student at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. After my semester as a writing student there I used the taped interviews with Anna Cyr I had collected and, after learning radio production from Rob Rosenthal at the Salt Institute, turned them into this radio piece. The initial version of 'Anna on the Homefront' I produced is 9:19, the second, somewhat hastily cut, version is 6:36, which is the version that aired on Big Talk, on WMPG, Portland's community radio station.

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Piece Description

Anna Cyr is the wife of a member of the Maine National Guard who is deployed to Iraq with the 133rd Engineer Battalion. She lives in Lewiston, Maine, with her sister-in-law, who is married to Anna's husband's brother, who is also in Iraq with the 133rd. They create a new household where they support each other financially, emotionally, and with the practical everyday things, until their husbands return home. This piece was developed from an expanded written documentary I undertook as a writing student at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. After my semester as a writing student there I used the taped interviews with Anna Cyr I had collected and, after learning radio production from Rob Rosenthal at the Salt Institute, turned them into this radio piece. The initial version of 'Anna on the Homefront' I produced is 9:19, the second, somewhat hastily cut, version is 6:36, which is the version that aired on Big Talk, on WMPG, Portland's community radio station.

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Review of Anna on the Homefront

Immediately compelling and elegantly emotive. The premise of this new kind of intimate communication (web cam/im, email) between war-time soldiers and their families is engaging, especially for those unfamiliar with the situation and perhaps more so for families in the same straits.
The support structure in this story is inspiring - a crying baby left in the ambience for longer than expected is incredibly effective as is the wife's honesty about her "misplaced" returning husband. For a first time producer, this is really good radio.
This kind of "reminder" is excellent fare for veteran's day, memorial day - any kind of programming about what it took and what it takes to be at war. The sacrifices make you quiet.

Broadcast History

edited version(6:36) aired on Big Talk on WMPG, Portland, Maine's, community radio station on 8/19/2004

Modified version aired on Maine Public Radio's "Maine Things Considered" on 1/31/05

Timing and Cues

Anna on the Homefront (2 versions)
9 min., 19 seconds
6 min., 36 seconds

actualities, with interview clips and producer narration on top.