To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Restrepo and Ssgt Friend

Today I watched Restrepo by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger for a second time. The first time I watched it alone in my home.  I read Sebastian Junger's book WAR about 6 months prior (and was enthralled by it), so I wasn't sure what the documentary had to offer that the book didn't cover.

Restrepo helped put faces to the names in WAR, making the people and the events even more real.  This is why, when a Ssgt Friend who's been deployed 3 times, and has the physical and emotional marks to prove it, wanted to watch Restrepo, I asked him not to watch it alone.  I asked him to watch it with me.

I watched Ssgt Friend go through a variety of emotions in 93 minutes.  At times it seemed like he was right there with them, firing at the enemy.  He was focused. Alert.  Then came Ssgt Friends laughter when the guys horsed around, dancing or rough housing like boys do.  Then came the tears, remembering when it was his friends who had been killed.  Then anger.  At one point in the movie, one of the men reports a man walking on a roof. Upon hearing the report Ssgt Friend immediately yelled, "Kill the F&*%er." Ssgt Friend didn't realize he spoke out loud when he said it.

When I asked Ssgt Friend what he thought of Restrepo, he told me it was real. The looks on the faces of the men who where interviewed, their pain, he said he feels that.  One of the men in the Platoon, Hijar I think, said, "I hope my brain learns to process this differently.  I never want to forget.  This is the reason I appreciate everything I have."  Ssgt Friend agreed, "I never want to forget either."

I am a book worm and will always recommend a book over a movie.  I highly suggest anyone interested in an amazingly real view of living on an Out Post in a combat zone without any outside motivations and politics read WAR by Sebastian Junger.  Junger doesn't write about the relationships forged in the Korengal Valley, he shows his reader over and over again through their actions.  Restrepo was a fast pasted version of the book, also a must see.  In my opinion both were about brotherhood, honor, never forgetting. Both are worth your time and money.

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