I don’t want to characterize myself as more patriotic then your average person, or that I’m prouder to be an American then anyone else. I’m sure it has way more to do with my emotional tendencies for sure. My parents raised me with a strong love and undying passion and respect for my country. My addiction to all things history probably is a contributing factor. Coming from a family with deep military ties only adds to that. So one must assume that whether or not I married a military man I would have some pretty intense reactions to military movies.
I remember the last military battle type movie I saw in the theater. I absolutely can picture it as if it happened yesterday. The movie was Black Hawk Down, an incredibly real and vivid portrayal of Mark Bowden’s account in the book of a the same name. The book was equally as wonderful. We sat in the theater after movie was over and my, very sweet, nineteen-year-old future husband patiently waited while I dried the tears from my eyes. I haven’t watched a single military movie (where battle is being portrayed) in the theater since. Jarhead, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty have all been viewed from the comfort of my own home where I am free to ugly cry to my heart’s content.
These movies mean more to me then just simply an account of real or imagined, or even slightly exaggerated military life. My empathy goes through the roof and I imagine what it would like to be there myself. To imagine what my husband must be thinking, feeling, or what it was like when he experienced similar things. I liken it to walking through Section 60 for the first time, when you are hand in hand with your service member. The somberness of the situation as the reality hits you. It doesn’t matter that the scenes may be slightly exaggerated, it is Hollywood after all, it is still enough of a reality.
With all the talk of American Sniper, and its breaking of box office records, of course I have pondered my course of action. With almost certainty we will be watching it from the comfort of our own couch. It can be predicted, with absolutely certainty that I will ugly cry. I plan on reading the book before that, mostly because I love reading the books. They almost always contain more valuable, and more detailed, information then the movies. Hollywood seems to poison book writing only slightly less. There are have been some conflicting thoughts from various milspouses I know. I’ve heard great things and I’ve heard sentiments similar to mine.
I don’t know when or if the day will come that it will get easier for me, maybe some day when I’m not thinking about the next time my husband will be off to do his job for our country. Maybe it will never change for me. I suspect I’m not alone in that.