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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Shift Deepens

http://reflectionsfromthebellcurve.blogspot.com/2011/07/reconsidering-patriotism.html

Last July I wrote the post above because of a shift I detected then in my longheld resistance to patriotism, based on two books I read around that time. Last night I felt that shift deepen watching an HBO movie called "Taking Chance". If you haven't seen it, I promise you it's worth 80 minutes of your time.

Based on actual events from 2004, Kevin Bacon portrays a Marine colonel who travels from Delaware to  Montana accompanying the body of 21 year old Marine private Chance Phelps, killed in action in Iraq. After arriving in Montana, the Colonel attends the funeral service Private Phelps' family has been waiting to have. Then he returns home to his family. The film is totally matter of fact; nothing happens aside from what I described; there is no dramatic arc. But the simple story, based on a journal the Colonel kept to document his experience, is powerful and moving. All day today I've remained haunted by it.

Despite having a Father who was a proud WWII vet, films and books about the military, especially those extolling patriotism, have had limited appeal for me in the past. Clearly, that is shifting. "Taking Chance" reminded me, without manipulating me, of the debt I owe to the men & women in our military and has me reconsidering patriotism, again.

5 comments:

  1. nice post -- you need to read Lone Survivor

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    1. Chris; Thanks for the comment; I'll check out the book.

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  2. Pat, one of the things I love most about you is your ability to evolve and grow. This is one example.

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  3. After serving my two year stint as a draftee during the Vietnam war, non-combat duty, I left with a respect for the caring and respect soldiers have for one another especially those who have returned from combat. I wouldn't sugar coat the experience. There were men I worked along side and reported to who conducted themselves badly in Vietnam. There were many more who faced whatever the war dealt them with courage and resolve. I led two burial details for those who didn't make it home. All of this lead me to appreciate the sacrifices soldiers make for the country and especially for their fellow soldiers. I listened carefully to all their stories, good and bad. I left the Army, glad to get out at the end of my two years. The first summer after I got home, I took a week off and got on a plane from Chicago to Columbia, South Carolina to visit everybody I left behind at Ft. Jackson. If that's patriotism, then I was behaving patriotically. But to me it just felt good to see everybody and everything one more time before getting on with the rest of my life. OK...there was this girl, too...

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    1. Steve; What a powerful comment. Things like this make me glad I started and have persisted with this blog; I learn so much about people, including many I've known a long time. I'm humbled by this knowledge. Thanks.

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