We went out last night and saw American Sniper.
Wow. All I could leave the theater saying, was wow.
I knew the movie was about a soldier (actually he’s a sailor, to be precise) who had the most recorded kills in history. I was uninformed and didn’t know the full story. I won’t share it all here, but there was so much more to it and the movie laid it all.
Chris Kyle, the U.S. Navy Seal who the movie is about, is a Texas cowboy–a legit roping, riding, hunting, cowboy from Texas who joined the military to make a difference and join the war on terror because it was something he believed was his duty.
The movie goes from his beginnings in the military through his time overseas, his personal life, and the implications of his duties on his mental health. What a story. What a burden to bear on one’s soul. On one’s family. If you want to read more about him, D Magazine did a great story, here.
I’m going to stop there because I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say, go see it. We walked out of a sold out theater in utter silence. Many of the others around us had tears running down their faces, like I did. I can’t even watch the previews for the movie anymore, without thinking about Chris’s story.
Why should you see this? Besides that fact that it’s won 6 Academy Awards and had an opening box office of over $90 MILLION, it’s a story as Americans you need to know.
The battle that troops who have served and fought in war zones doesn’t end when they board a plane home.
My brother did his tours in Iraq.
The movie revealed a glimpse into some of the things that the Marines and the Seals did in Iraq.
When I think about my brother, the few things he’s told me, the things I saw in this movie, my heart aches. I think of these young men and women who are eager to fight for something they believe in, at all costs. This isn’t a job to be taken lightly and you can’t just leave your work at the office when you click out-if you get to clock out.
There is a toll taken on the mental health of these brave men and women. I’ve talked about this with my brother. I remember what it was like when he came back from Iraq.
At the end of the day, these heroes are fundamentally changed for life. It would be impossible not to be, for better and worse. With the bad there is the good–the stories of the people they did help. The horrors that there are on the extreme other side and can never be forgotten, no matter how hard they try.
We go through the motions of our daily lives without missing a beat–school, work, errands, home, dinner, bed. We don’t realize the full magnitude of what it means to be active duty military, especially in a war zone. We can’t fully appreciate the commitment that is made to protect us thousands of miles away so that we can have the safety for ourselves and our children. It may sound silly and overly patriotic, but it’s true. This movie is the reminder we all need.
So next time you see a sailor, a Marine, a soldier or someone who has on military clothing, say “THANK YOU.” To their spouses and families, say “THANK YOU.” Whether they’ve set foot overseas or not, they signed up knowing full well that they could. And that’s reason enough.
Jacob: You will always be a Marine, enlisted or not. 12 years of sacrifice, you will always be my hero. THANK YOU. Oorah.