(director/writer: Aron Gaudet; cinematographers: Dan Ferrigan/Aron Gaudet; editor: Aron Gaudet; music: Aron Gaudet; cast: Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy, Joan Gaudet; Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gita Pullapilly; PBS; 2009)

“The earnest documentary is filled with many small moments that are heartfelt.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

For the last six years, since May of 2003, 87-year-old widowed WW II Navy vet Bill Knight, 75-year-old walker-user Joan Gaudet (the director’s mom), and 74-year old Vietnam army vet Jerry Mundy are retirees who have gotten up at all hours of the day and night to greet at the Bangor, Maine, International Airport, all departing and arriving flights of troop ships to and from Iraq or Afghanistan. This group and other greeters associated with them offer the soldiers a warm greeting, thanks for their service and free use of cell phones to call loved ones. The Bangor International Airport serves as both the first and last destination point in America the troops see before going or arriving from overseas.

The documentary serves as a sincerely touching non-political patriotic human interest film that is neither pro- nor anti-war, and also doubles as a moving study on aging for the elderly volunteers. The volunteers have greeted some 900,000 troops while faced such personal things as battling cancer, failing health, bankruptcy, loss of a pet dog, loneliness and concern about grandchildren being deployed to the conflict. Despite their problems aging, the volunteers find their lives enriched with a renewed purpose for living by being useful to others.

The earnest documentary is filled with many small moments that are heartfelt. It shows how kindness and caring about others endows everyone it touches with a feeling of togetherness and makes the world a little better place to live in. Now if humanity can ever figure out a way to prevent wars, the world will surely be a better place to live in!

The Way We Get By Poster

REVIEWED ON 11/15/2009 GRADE: B+