Monday, January 20, 2014

Lone Survivor: An Epic Must-See Experience

(L to R): Murphy, Luttrell, Axelson, Dietz
Normally, I try to keep this a technology in education website, only posting non-tech/non-education things on an occasional Friday. However, this past weekend, I saw the movie "Lone Survivor" and just felt moved to share. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I strongly recommend doing both, in that order, as soon as possible. The story is about Operation Redwing, a Navy SEAL mission to provide recon against a leading Taliban target in the mountains of Afghanistan. The mission goes awry when some goat herders come upon the four SEALs laying in cover, watching the compound. Suddenly, the SEALs are forced to make a tough decision: execute the goat herders and protect the operation or let them go and risk the goat herders alerting the army below. Lt. Michael Murphy, the SEAL in charge, decides to let the goat herders go, deciding that executing the three goat herders was not the right thing to do and in violation of the terms of engagement. Within hours, hundreds of Taliban soldiers armed to the teeth are upon the SEALs and a ferocious gun fight ensues. The movie does an amazing job capturing the horrific scene of the fight, yet portraying the bond and brotherhood between the SEALs as they fight to stay alive and fight for each other. Movies today are done with such a high level of quality that sitting in that theater room, you felt like you were on that mountain, fighting with the SEALs. It was such an amazing thing to watch those four SEALs, outnumbered 100-1, never quit, never give up, never stop fighting. As the name suggests, only one man makes it off that mountain, Marcus Luttrell, who is taken in and protected by a village near the mountain. He returns to the United States and tells the story of his brothers and what happened that day. It really hits home and makes one think at the end of the movie when they show pictures of the real SEALs who died that day, along with their family members. Many of those SEALs had sons and daughters, kids that will never get to see their dad again, wives widowed, moms and dad's outliving their children. The sacrifice these SEALs made and the sacrifice they continue to make is such an unbelievable thing, something we often take for granted. We often forget about the men and women out there, fighting, keeping us safe. We can sit on our front porch, watch the sunset in the horizon and not have a care in the world. We can be at home when our kids wake up and eat breakfast together. We have the right to share what we think without fear of persecution. We can choose our path in life and forge our own destiny, all because we live in America, the home of the brave and courageous. We live in freedom, protected by the undeterred men and women who fight in the shadows. I think it is so humbling that those men would willingly go into those mountains, into the eye of the storm, to fight and die for me, for you, for people they've never met. If you get the chance to experience Lone Survivor, you will leave with a swirling mind, an overflowing sense of appreciation and a full heart. 

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