A five-part documentary that focuses on World War I is underway on WTVP-TV Channel 47, Peoria's public TV outlet.

"A Golden Cross to Bear" will air its second episode at 7:30 p.m. Friday with subsequent programs to air Nov. 16, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.

"Golden Cross," written and produced by Kane Farabaugh, has been two years in the making. The program follows Roger Amm, a retired Ottawa, Illinois music teacher on a global quest to honor his grandfather. Gustave Amm is the Pontiac farmer who fought in the First World War and participated in the bloodiest battle in the history of the U.S. military.

That was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive which took 47 days with nearly 100,000 U.S. soldiers injured and more than 26,000 killed.

World War I often doesn't get the attention of other cataclysmic events of the 20th century. Whether it's the amount of time that's elapsed since that war was fought or the fact that it's often eclipsed by World War II, this documentary brings things to life.

Roger Amm, who had never heard any war stories from his grandfather, set off on a journey to retrace the steps that Gustave Amm's unit had taken 100 years ago.

It was a journey that took the younger Amm to the largest U.S. cemetery in Europe as well as trenches, mines and caves across France.

It's worth noting that, 100 years later, they're still finding remnants of WWI battles in the places that Amm, Farabaugh and photographer Jon Kassell visited.

This was more than a trip through the French woods, noted Farabaugh, a Midwest Emmy-award-winning producer.

"Gustav was part of the most gassed unit in WWI," he said, pointing out how chemical warfare changed how war was waged.

Along with recounting the horrors that Amm and his fellow soldiers faced during the war, "Golden Cross" also involved "the other side," visiting the small town in Germany where Amm's family came from (along with the Red Baron 's gravesite).

The program makes great use of vintage clips in the reconstruction of the conflagration that needs to be recalled in light of the war's immense impact on global events.

Farabaugh spotlights the war in a way that allows for appreciation for what war really means and, as a result, will have you shaking your head at the devastation that followed. With Veterans Day on the horizon, the series should be compulsory viewing.

Steve Tarter covers city and county government for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3260 or starter@pjstar.com. Follow him at Twitter@SteveTarter and facebook.com/tartersource.

A Golden Cross To Bear: A Story of the 33rd Division in World War 1 from Kane Farabaugh on Vimeo.