Friday, March 08, 2002

Military people (and their families) and civilians tend to see the world very differently. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I'll provide examples and hope I can churn out a summary or conclusion from them. When the movie Rules of Engagement came out, I went to see it with some of my friends. I was the only military brat, though one person's father played in the Army Band. There are many good scenes in the movie, but the most emotional is after the Sea Marines are taking casualties from Yemeni snipers while trying to evacuate the embassy, Samuel L. Jackson orders his men to open fire, and you see the soldiers all rise and begin firing. Later on, you see politicians try to screw Shaft over to save their own [donkeys], but are ultimately thwarted by a former North Vietnamese officer who had fought against Jackson previously, who testifies on his behalf. After seeing it with my friends, they all thought it was an "eh" movie, and didn't seem to really like it, saying that the acting was cheesy at some places and that the movie "just didn't do it" for them. A few weeks later, I saw it with my dad at the Ft. Belvoir base theater. At the point where the troops are told to open fire, you could feel the tension in the theater (where the Star-Spangled Banner is played before each show) rise, and it was obvious that everyone wanted to stand up and shout "YEAH! That's what you get for screwing with America!" It was similar with Black Hawk Down, with my friends having a "that was [freaking] awesome!" reaction, contrasted with my own "Wow. Those men gave their lives to try to save that pilot's" response. Perhaps it's not so much military vs. non-military, but red state vs. blue state (the military is disproportionately Southern and Western). I saw a truck today with a flag sticker and one that said "We will hunt you down," and all I could think was "you bet we will." I hope I'm not sounding elitist or arrogant, but I think that some people just don't realize that people actually have died, and that heroism is something that happens in battle. No one's the Terminator (my understanding is that would-be Terminators die very quickly in war). Sergeants Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart gave their lives for something the believed in, and instead of a proper burial, were dragged naked through the streets of Mogadishu on television. I understand that I'm a blue-stater by culture, but while I know that I don't understand the mentality of men so brave, I do respect it and will do whatever I can to support it.

I'd be an awful blogger if I didn't give you a link, so go to The Sarge for an exclusive account of the battle of Mogadishu from the pilot of Super 65.

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