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The Things 'Lone Survivor' Taught Me

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Jan 17, 2014 10:49 AM

Let me preface this article by saying that I am a former military wife. My husband served in the United States Navy for 6 years and during that time completed one tour in Afghanistan. During his time in the military, I was separated from my husband for a total of 2.5 years. I spent countless nights awake with anxiety. We’ve missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and at one point we missed an entire year. But my husband came home every single time. I would willingly live it all over again because it was important. This movie made me realize how small my sacrifices truly were.

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I had no desire to see Lone Survivor. I knew of the story and didn’t care to see this horribly tragic mission portrayed on the big screen. However, I’m so grateful that I did.

The movie tells the story of four Navy SEALs and operation Red Wings. It opens with real life footage of Navy SEALs BUD/S training. Immediately viewers realize the strength, endurance and determination necessary to become a member of the most elite Special Forces operation in the U.S. However, you also recognize the bonds that are forged during training. Viewers witness a chain of men floating with linked arms along the coast of the ocean singing “Silent Night” as wave’s crash against their bodies. We see them surmount insurmountable odds. In those first few minutes we are hooked.

What follows is a story about bothers. These four men give a new meaning to the term “I’ve got your six.” I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, because I believe each person should see it for themselves. However, I will say that there are a few lessons to be learned from this movie and from the actions of the SEALs on that fateful day.  Mike Murphy, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell chose to follow the rules of engagement even though it meant compromising their mission and eventually costing three of them their lives.

This isn’t a movie about politics or government. This is a story about four men who considered each other brothers. It’s a story about four men who covered each other’s backs until the end.

The most significant part of the movie is the end. In the final minutes of the movie you get to “meet” the true heroes of Operation Red Wings. You connect names to faces; you see their wedding pictures and photos of their children. You watch moments of their lives pass you by and you can’t help but feel like they gave it all up for you. Sitting in that seat, surrounded by my husband and maybe 100 other people, we recognized that they willingly sacrificed their lives for us. That is a heavy thing to realize. It is a heavy thing to feel.

When the movie ended the theatre erupted in applause, then silence quickly followed. We sat there unmoving trying to process what we just saw. Eventually and collectively we stood and proceeded to make our way out of the theatre in complete silence, as an unspoken sign of respect for the fallen.

I caught the misted eyes of my husband and felt so thankful, lucky and heartsick.

This movie is full of action, suspense and will most certainly bring you to tears. I’m sure the theatre needed an industrial sweeper to sop up all the tears that were shed from my row alone. However, I don’t suggest watching this movie for any of those reasons. Watch it because we forget. As a country, we tend to forget the service men and women who are sacrificing everything for us. They are giving up holidays, anniversaries and I personally know two men that missed the birth of their baby girls – not to mention those that have made the ultimate sacrifice. Consider it your civic duty to see this movie and thank a service member. After all, they are doing it for you.

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