My wife Lindsey knew I had read the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell and was eager to see the movie based on it. And last night she scored early release tickets for us. My friend Matt and I went to see it together.
I won’t rate the movie in typically movie terms. That doesn’t seem right. It is based on a true story about real events and real people. Men who died fighting for our freedom. The film was in my mind a tribute to their story and to bring their story to a broader audience.
In that context, the movie does that in a huge way.
But I’ll give a word of caution: the movie is extremely graphic and brutal and painful … as were the actual events. To say it is not for the faint of heart is a serious understatement. That’s not to say you shouldn’t see it, that’s for your own judgment. But the bulk of the movie is extremely brutal and raw and resemble the first-person account I read in the book many years ago. As such It could be very disturbing to many.
My strong suggestion is this though: Read the book. Learn the full first-person story of patriotism, valor, sacrifice and brotherhood. Learn why those men willingly choose the hardest training on earth in one of the most dangerous places in the world. And finally, learn about the compassion and bravery of one Afghan village and some pieces of Afghan culture and history.
I read the book several years ago — mostly with tears and goosebumps. And I am going to begin re-reading it soon.
I remember thinking it should be read broadly for several reasons: 1. to understand the sacrifice and commitment of those who serve us in our military, and 2. to remind us to be thankful for them and the freedom we enjoy because of their service to our country.
The opening scenes in the movie have clips from real Navy SEAL training — details about which are intertwined brilliantly in the book and what makes it one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read. (Marcus Luttrell also makes several cameo appearances in the movie.)
I have always been fascinated with the SEALs (and the military) as my brother wanted to be one. In my mind they are the real superheroes to me.
I have friends and family who have served in America’s military. I hold them in the highest regard. I stand in awe and have the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women who serve as I did not serve.
But I love my country and am so incredibly thankful for those men and women who sign up to serve, protect and defend us. And whose stories are hardly ever told in this light.
So I added a new Bucket list item: I want to meet Marcus Luttrell, shake his hand and tell him thank you for his sacrifice and service.
That’s something I try to do to every soldier I see whose names I won’t ever know.
They are all heroes to me.