Twenty-two year old Corporal Jonathan Santos had documented his 37 days of military service in Iraq in a personal diary before a roadside bomb took his life and the lives of several of his friends and servicemen on October 15, 2004. Jonathan’s mother, Doris, wasn’t aware that her son had kept a diary until his Tuff Box™ – a soldier’s chest filled with their most valuable items – was sent to her after his death. Upon opening the box, she discovered his “little green book” and a stack of videocassettes on which he had recorded daily life in Iraq.
When Doris is finally able to bring herself to watch the tapes, she finds images of Jonathan’s arrival in Iraq, pictures from a cousin’s wedding he was able to attend while on leave, and scenes of Jonathan laughing and joking with his Army buddies including Private Matthew Drake, one of Jonathan’s best friends, who was the sole survivor of the attack in which Jonathan was killed. The record of Jonathan’s final few weeks, in which he expresses fears and doubts never voiced to his family in person, is at once inspiring, personal and profound.
Both an affecting story of courage and a universal tribute to soldiers everywhere, The Corporal’s Diary follows Doris’ journey as she moves beyond her pain to meet with the families of others who have lost loved ones in the war. Together they share stories, offer comfort and pay tribute to the lives of the brave young servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives in Iraq.
“A heartfelt tribute to a human being by those who loved him.” - Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Santos’ footage is remarkable for its unremarkable scenes of soldiers joking and complaining of the boredom and mundane facts of life in a confusing war zone. There is seemingly nothing special about them. They could be your neighbors or your sons.”- David Allen, Stars and Stripes
“The content of each journal is so entertaining and compelling that, if one didn’t know better, a viewer might assume The Corporal’s Diary was yet another faux documentary about the war told from the perspective of a fictional serviceman.”- Tom Keogh, Seattle Times
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