APPEL: Lessons Remembered Through American Sniper

On rare occasions in life we all are greeted with an experience that resonates within us to the extent that we lose the ability to verbalize our thoughts. Last weekend was such a moment. My wife and I finally decided to see The American Sniper. The house was packed with people that had, like us, taken the opportunity to escape from the parades.

As the production ended not a person moved and the silence was deafening; as my Mom would have said you could have heard a pin drop. When the house lights came up, several hundred people silently shuffled to the exits; it was amazing not to hear a whisper. We were all emotionally drained; torn between the violence of war and the less obvious violence done to our hero’s incredibly brave family.

As a young boy I vividly remember how we kids could only carefully approach our father as he slept. After three years of war’s violence he was so sensitive to the least noise that he would jump out of bed at the least provocation. The scene in the movie of the hero’s reaction to the dog playing roughly with his son was exactly as I remembered my Dad’s reactions. I suppose that the silence in the theater may well have been brought home to many as, like me, they tapped into to memories long buried.

So as I celebrate Mardi Gras and the joy of life with my family, I will also remember that our pleasures and prosperity are not without cost. We all owe a great debt to those who paid that price so dear in order that we all could live a great life in the greatest nation in history.

Here’s to you Chris Kyle and Clint Eastwood for reminding so many Americans in such an incredible way. Freedom is not free.

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