29 November 2009

Band Of Brothers, Again.

The war in Europe is over, thanks in large part to the efforts of the brave men of "Easy Company". These men watch newsreels of the terrible struggle against the Japanese, and have been told only a certain number of them that meet an arbitrary threshold will be discharged and sent safely home... the rest will soon be transported halfway around the world to help finish the job against the Japanese.
In preparation for that likelihood, the company once again begins to train, replacements and old-salts alike...
Physical training, weapons training, tactical training.

There is a scene in that last episode showing a bunch of men who have been through the trial by fire together, out on a "patrol" in Austria, honing the skills that will be required in the Pacific theater. They hear a noise and a halt is signaled by the patrol leader. Looking around, they see a magnificent deer, at the alert, beautiful antlered head held high. Several of the men take aim on the creature...
Fresh venison would be a welcome addition to the chow the ARMY has been feeding them.
But the moment is magic... They're surrounded by beautiful unsullied forest and mountains depicted on picture post-cards. They all look at this gorgeous living thing and they can't pull the trigger. It turns and scampers away.
The scene was one of many that was so wonderful it made the tears flow, because I knew the feeling...
Before being drafted I enjoyed rabbit hunting. It was a chance to get out with the guys... to share an experience out of doors, and although the rabbits I shot always ended up on another's table, that meat was never wasted.
But hunting a creature that "hunts you" destroyed my desire to shoot animals. I haven't shot that old single-shot 16 gauge shotgun since 1964.

You may remember one of the channels aired "Band of Brothers" months ago and I commented I had digitally recorded all the episodes. What I failed to realize was that if I didn't "protect" them, they'd automatically be erased as new content was recorded. When I went to watch the third episode it was gone. I chose not to watch the rest until I could watch all in sequence. "Spike TV" ran the whole series, albeit WITH commercials, Thanksgiving Day. I recorded, AND PROTECTED them all.

I've been sick. I woke on Tuesday with a minor sore throat... ( I know you don't wanta hear this so I'll spare you the rest). Let's just say by Thanksgiving I had to get out of bed and get dressed to go to the dinner table and pick at the great meal Sara Jean had prepared. I've missed two days of work trying to heal. But being bedridden two days afforded me the chance to devote my undivided attention to the almost 15 hours of "Brothers" in sequence. Laptop at hand, I was able to pause the video, research people, places, things... then maybe rewind, and take it all in.
I finally finished it early this morning...
I'm speechless.

War is a terrible thing. It's also obvious that sometimes, war is the only way to survive... to achieve your goal.
There are scenes in the series that show atrocities being committed by Americans, but those atrocities pale in comparison to the scene of Easy Company discovering and liberating the Nazi concentration camp... atrocities committed in the name of the German people.
That set me to thinking of similar Japanese atrocities...
Nanking...
The Death March at Bataan.

I'm proud to be an American.
I'm proud to be a Veteran and even remotely connected to these brave men... past, present, and future.
Millions and millions freed in Iraq and Afghanistan...
No more "Rape rooms".
No more humans being fed into wood chippers.
No more "Children's prisons".
No more women being beaten because they don't have "men's rights".
Women in those countries once again at least have a chance at equality in education and vocation.

My country is the world's best "force for good", and I am proud of her and the men who presently defend her.
To my fellow citizens who continue down the path of self-hatred...
Maybe you need to watch "Band of Brothers"?

6 comments:

Crown-n-coke said...

I have the DVD set, I have watched is several times, even when I stumble on it on TV I stop and watch it there too. It is so well done it's shocking to know who produced it, two very left wing but very talented people. You would have thought they would have learned a little about this nation while making that series and what it takes to maintain our freedom. Glad your feeling better GB.

cj said...

Wow. Elegant words, GB. Simply elegant.

cjh

the golden horse said...

I think the title says it all GB.

Tumo said...

Hooya! GB read this today while having breakfast in Bagram! Loved it, between the show and you writing how you related to it..Good to know somebody gets it..TTYL Driver/Brother

Cissy Apple said...

I've got the set as well. I remember that when it was originally aired on HBO, I couldn't wait. Then 9/11 happened and Band of Brothers aired against all the coverage of 9/11. My daughter bought the set for me for the following Christmas. I'm still waiting until I'm in the right frame of mind to watch it. Guess I better get a move on. How many years has that been?

OuterMarker said...

Beautiful.
That series is a classic and shows the length that every one of those men went to in order to defeat naked agression.
One of my favorite all time movies because it reminds me that our fathers and grandfathers, i.e. The Greatest Generation, stepped up to the plate at a time when their country needed them the most. They didnt back down, cower, protest, or run across the border into Canada or Mexico to avoid fighting. If ONLY we could return to that mentality...