Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Saving Private Ryan

We started watching this movie last evening to commemorate Memorial Day. The early sequences of the invasion of Normandy Beach, D-Day, World War II, are stark and unforgettable. It's a miracle that the Allies won this long and costly war. It is amazing that D-Day was June 6, 1944, more than a year before the war finally ended with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945.

My children have to see these war movies, read horrific novels like "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Night" (a book I have avoided successfully, so far). They need to know all they can about war and the depths of human evil, so they can live with eyes open.

I believe Austin is seriously considering a career in the military. He doesn't talk to me much about it, because of my intensely mixed emotions about either of my boys giving up their lives in that way. Is that selfish of me, to want them to have more control of their destiny? My husband is enamored of people in the military, so it's only natural that our oldest son would seriously consider such a career.

It is intensely painful for me to watch this type of realistic war movie. When the mother learns of the death of three of her four sons in the movie, collapsing with grief as she sees the official car pulling up in her driveway, I am that mother, and I weep for her loss. When I hear Abraham Lincoln's beautiful, elegiac letter to a mother whose five sons were all lost in the Civil War, I think --- just for an instant -- that receiving this letter, this thing of unspeakable beauty, somehow could make such a loss bearable. Of course, it couldn't. Read President Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby here.

Wow, I posted an internal link in my blog! I have never, ever done that before. So, apparently there is debate about whether Lincoln actually wrote the letter. Based on his brief, glorious speech at Gettysburg, he certainly could have. Thomas Jefferson had nothing on Lincoln as a wordsmith.

Since I only had 20 minutes to write here before the awards ceremony at school, this post will also be blessedly brief.

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