If You Feel Detached This Memorial Day… Read This

Memorial Day poppies, Symbolized in 1915

If you feel detached this Memorial day, unable to really connect with the kind of sacrifice that is given by the men and women who have died for our country, I have some movies to suggest to you.  Movies that my husband has forced me to watch (:) ) the past few months with him, and it’s been riveting.

It’s hard to connect sometimes with things we haven’t experienced or don’t fully understand.  We see the other side of war, the beauty that comes from when it succeeds or ends.  There is an old story of the Memorial Day poppy, the symbolic flower of remembrance, began with in the Spring of 1915, when the fields of Belgium, France, and Gallipoli were covered with the tiny red blossoms.  It was after a long, cold winter of war, the ground and soil were broken up and torn enough to initiate the poppy seeds into germination.

Desolate battlefields of red flowers became fraught with clusters of delicate, bright poppies.  Death, horror, and loss of brave soldiers fighting in war, were then remembered, marked, with the poppies that came from their fight.  Beauty from pain.  Beauty from ashes.  Beauty from hopelessness.


It’s hard to understand the depth of their sacrifice unless you’ve been in the situation yourself, have seen your friends die in combat, or have lost one of your loved ones.

My husband and I watched these movies with the same theme of war, love, and sacrifice.  I’m not the kind of woman who actively seeks out dramatic, fight scene kind of movies, but let me tell you… these movies, are AMAZING.  You will come away feeling at least a little more appreciation for the men and women who have died for our country, and the families that supported them.

Act of Valor

In Act of Valor, there are frequent disturbing, but necessary, scenes of a woman being brutally tortured – she is the package they must receive and rescue.  It is a movie that transports you into a place you likely have never been, and never want to be.  The life of a Navy Seal.  You are the woman the terrorists have captured and who are drilling holes through her hands, dragging across the floor while she’s covered in blood and in chains, you are the men who know exactly what she is enduring, and are on a race against the clock to try to recover her before she gives up the will to live, or is killed.  You hear her screams echoing through the rain forest, as you’re going through the necessary tactical commands and movements in order to complete your operation.  This movie showed me the horror that goes on without us even knowing as we live our cushy lives filled with blatant ignorance of all the terrorists in the world craving to do us evil.  It was amazing, intense, and horrifying.  It showed the bravery of the men and women by putting you in their place, in their thoughts, in their very emotions.

Zero Dark Thirty

This is the movie about the inspiring dedication and perseverance it took to catch Osama Bin Laden.  It is produced by the interesting and elusive Gen-Y rebel and heiress, Megan Ellison (29).  It follows the true story, with its real life heroine and characters, however, it has the disclaimer that it is only a movie, not a documentary.  I found it riveting and fascinating… brutally hard to watch, and yet, I was filled with desire to know what would happen next, sitting on the edge of my seat, muscles completely and utterly tense.

No matter one’s beliefs on the political overtones of the CIA using torture methods on terrorists, and this film deliberately showing that they worked, it is an intriguing movie that will make you all the more thankful to be protected by people who dedicate their entire lives, looking every waking second for the evil that hunts us.


 End of Watch

A movie about police sacrifice, although they are not Veterans coming back from, or giving their lives in war, these men and women serve in a different kind of way.  I talked with a Marine who has been on 3 tours, and he assured me that the Police Officer has to constantly be on watch, he will never get to be a “Veteran” until he hangs up his vest and puts away his gun.  He is always “deployed,” even though he gets to come home at night.  This movie was a humorous, beautiful, tear-jerking look inside what a real police life feels like.  The main character and his humor reminded me so much of my husband it made it very hard to watch in some respect.  Even as I write this post, one of my husband’s friends just had to deal with a violent drunk, in a thunderstorm of our flooding city, and then drive him to jail as he took a shit in his car.

But they would take that over a boring desk job any day.



Thank you to all who sacrifice.

May we always remember.


  1. I too enjoyed Zero Dark Thirty, and very much. As theater.

    The subject targeter “Maya” played by Jessica Chastain, elevated to near-mythic status, is also someone a friend of mine knew in AfPak. “Maya” in real life is an unpleasant piece of work, to put it mildly, not that being a nice girl is central to her job. But she is an unprofessional self-promoter. That is objectively true.

    So the reality of the OBL raid, and “Maya”, is far more complicated than the cinematic myth, which is no great insight. But I think we need to remember that it’s “only a movie”. I enjoy it as such, but it is no historical reference.

    A few observations:

    One, as Sy Hersh has recently written, the notion that OBL was living undiscovered two kms from the equivalent of our West Point strains all credulity. The question should be asked, and is being asked, who was playing whom. Pakistani intelligence plays for keeps.

    Two, “Maya” was refused a promotion and transferred sideways after the raid. (Everything I mention here is in the public record, incidentally.)

    Three, anyone with an independent streak will look at the stage-managed photo that the White House blew out around the world. He will note: a) the photo itself is a fabrication; BO is photoshopped; b) the photo is a major breach of opsec, which clearly suggests political manipulation of whatever actually happened; c) the photo ‘outs’ the woman in the right rear. For reference, she is a former Wellesley SJW named Audrey Thomason. She had absolutely no business being in that room.

    I think it’s well to remember that, as an anonymous source for the WashPost was quoted “The agency is a funny place, very insular. It’s like middle-schoolers with clearances.” I would probably be more generous and say it’s like the Post Office with clearances.

    Here’s the famous photo. Politicians released this, not intelligence professionals. They did so for a political purpose:

    Maybe in the White House you can bring personal electronics into a secure room, but you sure can’t anywhere else, incidentally.

    Here is a background story from the Post:


    In retrospect there are a great many things wrong with the OBL narrative. It did produce a great movie, though.

  2. Interesting stuff, BV. Lots to consider there…

    I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve been truly knowledgeable about, or had personal experience about something the media portrayal has been almost 180 out from reflecting the reality of what I’ve experienced/know. I’ve often even debated folks who have read the media version, when I’ve known the real version first hand, and they insist I’m full of you-know-what because they can find X number of sources claiming something else.

    There seem to be two separate worlds. Reality and manufactured media reality. The manufactured world obviously has far better marketing.

  3. “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
    ― Michael Crichton

  4. Liz, the ‘manufactured reality’ that is so central to our political world is the subject of my friend Larry’s recent book.

    It doesn’t present an optimistic thesis, which is that events such as OBL’s death are just props in a streaming series of Potemkin Villages, which he calls (being a leftie academic) “presidential manipulation.” What’s so alarming, once you’ve lived inside the system, is how cheerful the politicians and media collaborate in what is, for them, open deception.

    As with TRP, I find it pointless to discuss such matters with insiders, and just snort from time to time my disbelief. This elicits knowing glee, provided one doesn’t carry on with an actual opinion.

    “America’s model of representational government rests on the premise that elected officials respond to the opinions of citizens. This is a myth, however, not a reality, according to James N. Druckman and Lawrence R. Jacobs. In Who Governs?, Druckman and Jacobs combine existing research with novel data from US presidential archives to show that presidents make policy by largely ignoring the views of most citizens in favor of affluent and well-connected political insiders. Presidents treat the public as pliable, priming it to focus on personality traits and often ignoring it on policies that fail to become salient.

    “Melding big debates about democratic theory with existing research on American politics and innovative use of the archives of three modern presidents—Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan—Druckman and Jacobs deploy lively and insightful analysis to show that the conventional model of representative democracy bears little resemblance to the actual practice of American politics. The authors conclude by arguing that polyarchy and the promotion of accelerated citizen mobilization and elite competition can improve democratic responsiveness. An incisive study of American politics and the flaws of representative government, this book will be warmly welcomed by readers interested in US politics, public opinion, democratic theory, and the fecklessness of American leadership and decision-making.”

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