The Memorial Day movie “Lone Survivor” is about four American military men in Afghanistan who were given an order to capture and kill a Taliban leader. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell one of the four men. Their mission goes horribly wrong.
Chuck and I went to see the movie in 2013 when it was first in theaters. Ironically, I was the one that insisted we go. This surprised Chuck because he knows that I don’t like extremely tense movies, and he knew that this one was exactly that.
But We Went Anyway
Of course, the movie was extremely intense. Most of the people in the theatre were young men. A row of them to my right were all with very short haircuts. They all set like they were sitting at attention if that is possible. They were stoic and very quiet.
The movie was excellent, as was the acting.
Well, why did I go?
I truly believe that freedom in America is not free. We all owe a debt of gratitude to all the men and women who have fought or are fighting for our freedom. These four young men did just that.
The War in Afghanistan was and still is a direct result of the attacks on the Trade Center buildings in New York, our Pentagon in DC, and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. This battle in Afghanistan took place within five years after those attacks. At the time, there was no doubt in our collective minds that we needed to be over there. To do nothing was not an option for our nation.
“Lone Survivor” is about Operation Red Wings. The operation was one of the worst military disasters in US history. Nineteen men lost their lives. Four men were sent in for reconnaissance, and surveillance centered on a leader in the Taliban.
The operation failed because of several reasons, the biggest of which was their accidental discovery by some Afghan goatherders. They captured the three goatherders but regretfully had to let them go even though they knew that there was a good chance that the Taliban army of men down in the village would be alerted. Later, it was their virtues that led to the disaster, not their vices. The Seal team of four followed the rules of engagement and did the honorable thing.
I heard enough of this story to feel the tug of my own calling. If these men could put themselves into this situation for the people in this country, then the least I could do was to see their story. I felt the ‘lone survivor’ wanted to make sure these men were not forgotten.
There is really so much more about this movie. You’ll find yourself proud of these young men and their call to duty, and you’ll be amazed by some Afghan villagers in the story. You’ll leave the movie as quietly as the young men I sat beside. Much thought will crowd your mind.
Is War Senseless?
Some time ago I heard that a reporter called the deaths in this operation, senseless. I just wonder if he felt the same in 2005 when this happened. Time makes us forget, and it is easy to look back ten years and make generalizations.
Senseless? I think not. If anything, it was a very conscious decision that was valuable, smart and sensible at the time. It was not perfect, but it had to be done. Thank goodness, these professionals knew their purpose; and they did the best they could under the circumstances. They understood that a dedicated life is a life worth living. They gave with their whole heart. Let’s not forget these young men on Memorial Day.
A Yellow Ribbon to Remember Those Still in Harm’s Way
Ever since the first men and women were sent overseas after 9-11, we tied a yellow ribbon around a tree near our street. Several times over the past dozen or more years, we replaced it because it lost all its color and was almost unnoticeable. This Memorial Day we will re-wrap the tree for the rest of the men and women who are still over there doing their best to keep America free.
We plan to read the book by the same title because there are still questions unanswered. Most important of all? Let the politicians, reporters, and pundits argue; but let us not forget our military.
And let’s not forget our children. I am not sure that our children are learning American history like we did. Our schools seem so intent on teaching them about the bad in our American history that I’m afraid they leave out the consequences and importance of what we did that was good. I believe it may be up to all of us outside of the schools to teach our children about this great nation and what it really stands for.
That is why Chuck and I have been taking the kids to battlefields, museums, and monuments. We cannot depend on our schools to teach our children and grandchildren what we feel is important. We need to pick up that job ourselves. This summer get to know your offspring better and learn about America’s history first hand.
And don’t forget that all of us need to update our lessons. “Lone Survivor” whether you decide to see the movie or read the book is a good primer.