February 2, 2009
I had originally intended on writing about the Center for a New American Security( http://www.cnas.org/) today as I recently discussed this unique organization with several current and former military strategists however my usual ramblings took a different path as I was cut short by a co-worker asking if I had heard about the new Kevin Bacon film by HBO titled Taking Chance.
I mentioned that I had indeed heard about the film and then I fell silent for just a moment.
Now for those of you who have not seen or heard about this cinematic work let me be the first to warn you that it is and will be a major "tear jerker" no matter how hardened your heart is.
Mr. Bacon (expertly) plays Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, an officer in the United States Marine Corp who voluntarily accompanies the body of fallen Marine Private Chance Phelps as he is returned home for a military burial in Wyoming in 2004. Private Phelps was killed during intense ground combat by insurgents in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
What this movie does is chronicles one of the silent, virtually unseen journeys that takes place every day across our great country, bearing witness to the fallen and all those who, literally and figuratively, carry them home.
Witnessing the spontaneous outpouring of support and respect for the fallen Marine - from the groundskeepers he passed along the road to the cargo handlers at the airport - Lt.Col. Strobl was moved to capture the experience in his personal journal. His first-person account, which began as an official trip report (every military event concludes with such) gives an insight into the policy of providing a uniformed escort for all casualties.
The story became an Internet phenomenon when it was widely circulated throughout the military community and eventually reached the mainstream media winning accolades and awards at the Sundance Film Festival.
In reading a recent quote regarding the movie, several words expressed by Lt.Col. Strobl resonated deeply with me:
“Perhaps it might be good if we saw or thought more about them than just a line in the newspaper and went on with our day...hopefully, this movie will make people realize"
As I have repeatedly watched the trailer, I think back to my time in both Iraq and Afghanistan where I witnessed remains leaving for the United States and the subsequent impact that single vision had on me. In the end it was nothing compared to the loss that a family suffers when their Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine comes home for final resting.
Taking Chance will undoubtedly pay tribute to all of the men and women who have given their lives in military service as well as their families who have suffered this loss. I can only hope that perhaps one of the major networks picks up this film and airs it in its entirety if only for the fact that it is a work that we as a Nation should all watch to fully understand and comprehend the cost of being free.
If you are not busy February 21st at 8PM and have access to cable TV and HBO I would suggest watching this movie...as I said...as a Nation it is a must see.
Well done Kevin Bacon and HBO Films...and Thank You.
The trailer can be found here: