I am in awe of them, and I respect and thank them for choosing to protect and defend to their very lives.
I can actually "see things" in my subconscious when I am near certain friends who have served in some of the most important theaters on different continents and in different decades.
If you haven't yet, I encourage you to see all of these movies. Not necessarily in a movie marathon or something.
It will be powerful. And thought provoking. And important.
1. Acts of Valor
Utilizing Active US Navy SEALs to play the role of, well, US Navy SEALs; Acts of Valor had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Holding my breath, and FEELING the tension and almost feeling like I was there with them. The realistic manor in which this was filmed heightened the powerful emotions, and I cried openly at the depth of the seriousness and intensity. I cried because this was real. I cried because these are real people risking their lives. These are real people that do a job that is so challenging, and requires such difficult decisions, that the scenario had to be TONED DOWN for the big screen! This is not a fictional story filled the with faces of well known Hollywood handsomes. There are no cleverly written lines. This is important for people to see and understand and know. This is REAL. We saw this in the theater when it first came out. The theater was still and silent as it ended, and we all just sat there quietly watching as photos and video clips of the real soldiers' lives flashed before our eyes, and until all the credits had passed. Not a dry eye to be found.
2. American Sniper
Most of us have now come to recognize the story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The Warrior who served several tours in Afghanistan and hallowed for his hyper marksmanship, lauded as the most lethal sniper in US Military History. Thanks to the thoughtful directing of Clint Eastwood, this movie is powerful, and shares a lot about what is happening for family and friends on the home front while our Warriors are serving, and again as warriors are attempting to re-integrate back to "normal life". Difficult choices are being made on both sides, and relationship things are challenging, and yet the commitment to each other is as strong as the commitment to country. We are all now familiar with the part of the story where he and another Warrior are murdered by a young man recently returned from the conflicts. This actually happens while the movie is being filmed, and the intended ending is modified. His widow asks that the project is continued. We saw this movie in the theater, and I found myself holding my breath every time he pulled that rifle to his shoulder and peered through the scope, releasing my breath only once the target had been achieved. This movie is an important reminder, not only of the level of talent and skill our warriors have and the level of training they go through, but also of the human side of their lives. A debt of gratitude is owed to the families at home, waiting and loving and worrying. Again, as the movie ends, the entire auditorium is silent except for those of us crying as the final scenes of real footage of the funeral procession, and the credits roll. No one moves until the lights come on.
3. Lone Survivor
Another movie based on actual events and real people in modern war. The title gives away that this story does not have a happy Hollywood ending. The power of their brother-bond as soldiers and warriors is a huge focus here. We watched this at home, and I was riveted. LOTS of "F-Bombs", but totally appropriate for the story. I cried. Again. I cried because what seams like the right and humane thing to do turns out to be the worst thing they could have done. I cried because those decision have to be made in war. I cried because these men bounced down cliffs, and were shot multiple times, yet they continued to fight in an attempt to bring down the evil that not only wanted to kill them, but wants us all dead as well. I cried because through unspeakable pain and injury, these heroes fought the enemy until their very last breath. I cried because in the midst of hell, there are good people, and soon the protected become the protectors. This time, it was my very own living room that fell silent as the real life footage scrolled across the screen, and the real faces of real heroes filled my home. Tears falling from my eyes.
I THANK GOD for men like those portrayed in these movies.
I thank GOD that some of them in generations past were my family.
I think GOD for those that are friends in my life now.
I honor them.
I revere them.
I grieve the loss of them on this planet.
I grieve for their families who loved them enough to let them go and fight for our country, and the world.
I grieve for us, as a nation, and yet rejoice that there are such heroes in this generation.
Because of men like those portrayed in these movies, we all have the opportunity to