Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Review of "Taking Chance"

The movie, "Taking Chance" is a must see!! It is an HBO film based on a moving true story. To be honest, whenever I hear that a movie is done by HBO, I'm pretty skeptical. The reason being that HBO is pretty good at putting out liberal propaganda pieces. That said, this is not the first time I've been pleasantly surprised. The first time was when I was wowed by Iron Jawed Angels.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl made a journey in 2004 that was so moving, he decided to write an article about it. Even though it was unusual for someone of Strobl's rank to escort a fallen soldier's body home, Strobl volunteered to do just that. He didn't even know Pfc. Chance Phelps, but he noticed that he was from a hometown right next to Strobl's own hometown.

Since, Strobl himself helped write the screenplay for the movie it ended up being very accurate. The neat thing about the movie also is that everyone can watch it and be moved whether they are for or against the war. There is nothing political about it.

Below are some excerpts from Strobl's article that show what big hearts Americans have in this country for our men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our freedoms:
On this day there were some civilians doing construction on the mortuary grounds. As each hearse passed, they would stop working and place their hard hats over their hearts. This was my first sign that my mission with Pfc. Phelps was larger than the Marine Corps and that his family and friends were not grieving alone.
The woman behind the counter already had tears in her eyes as I was pulling out my government travel voucher. She struggled to find words but managed to express her sympathy for the family and thank me for my service. She upgraded my ticket to first class.

After clearing security, I was met by another Northwest Airlines employee at the gate. She told me a representative from cargo would take me to the tarmac to observe the movement and loading of Pfc. Phelps. I hadn't really told any of them what my mission was, but they all knew.

When the man from the cargo crew met me, he, too, struggled for words. On the tarmac, he told me stories of his childhood as a military brat and repeatedly told me that he was sorry for my loss. I was starting to understand that, even here in Philadelphia, far away from Chance's hometown, people were mourning with his family.

On the tarmac, the cargo crew was silent expect for occasional instructions to each other. I stood to the side and saluted as the conveyor moved the container to the aircraft. I was relieved when he was finally settled into place. The rest of the bags were loaded, and I watched them shut the cargo bay door before I headed back to board the aircraft.

One of the pilots had taken my carry-on bag himself and stored it next to the cockpit door so he could watch it while I was on the tarmac. As I boarded the plane, I could tell immediately that the flight attendants had already been informed of my mission. They seemed a little choked up as they led me to my seat.

About 45 minutes into our flight, I still hadn't spoken to anyone expect to tell the first-class flight attendant that I would prefer water. I was surprised when the flight attendant from the back of the plane suddenly appeared and leaned down to grab my hands. She said, "I want you to have this, " as she pushed a small gold crucifix, with a relief of Jesus, into my hand. It was her lapel pin, and it looked somewhat worn. I suspected it had been hers for quite some time. That was the only thing she said to me the entire flight.
Bottom line: I give the movie 2 thumbs up and recommend it for all to see. I only caution you to have a box of kleenex close by.

Additional links:
A Marine's Journey Home
Taking Chance
HBO Films’ Taking Chance - Kevin Bacon, Michael Strobl Interview

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