A little writing research

Toward the goal of delving into the facets of the soldier's psyche, I've been wanting to watch the film "Restrepo" for some time. Limited theater engagements meant waiting until the movie released to dvd. It was a long wait, but well worth it.

Ironic that, as with CSM Prosser's valiance being witnessed and recorded by embedded journalist Michael Yon in 2005, and subsequently recognized and rewarded, Giunta's actions were likewise witnessed and recorded.

The Sal Giunta Story from SebastianJunger/TimHetherington on Vimeo.

Giunta makes a very valid statement in this interview. "Fuck you," he says. Every soldier he's served with, he explains, deserves the recognition for their service that he's received.

I watched the movie, earlier today. Many poignant moments trapped on film, and no doubt I'll watch it many more times, to view them again and again. The movie isn't filled with graphic gun-fighting though. And that's not what I find valuable anyways. I watch their eyes, their facial expressions, in the moment, in the interview excerpts. Those moments when they stop talking, when you can see the memories playing out in their mind, and the emotion that goes with it.
The humanity in the soldier. That's what I strive to portray. I don't aim to glorify The Soldier in any way. To glorify the soldier is to glorify war, and there is no glory in war. No, I strive to glorify the humanity. To portray the moments of compassion, of passion. The softer aspects that are not lost in civilized society's ranks of the "expendable".

After all, isn't that what the definition of a soldier is? In the purely academic sense. I don't perceive them in such a manner at all, mind. But the accurate, authentic portrayal of one who is employed in such a role, must needs take into account this philosophy, this aspect, even if only for the purpose of turning it on its head and refuting it.

Because no life is truly expendable. The humanity is precious. And the spark of compassion, of intimacy and solidarity and cohesion, that is worth celebrating. It is the contrast, after a fashion, that holds the fascination. Life, in the face of death. Love, in the face of hatred. Compassion, in the face of rage. Intangible ideals may drive an individual to wage war, but in the end a soldier fights not for those, but to defend and protect the lives of his shield brothers, to guard their backs as they guard his. From that comes true valor.


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