Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Love War Movies

I've never served in the military. I've never even fired a weapon. What I love in war movies is the clear contrast between good and evil.
I love movies that show the Nazis in all their strength and efficiency and order and discipline and grit and ruthlessness and brutality and apparent invincibility. Knowing they lose and we win gives me hope about a whole range of struggles, large and small, that I face personally and that we face as a society.

And it reminds me that what we have here in America is not the norm. Any violence we suffer is generally self-inflicted, inflicted by Americans on Americans. We do not have to worry about outside threats as people in most of the rest of the world do.

As a father, I do not have to worry about shielding my children from bombs or sniper fire. This may sound strange, but it's the indignity of war that bothers me as much as the threat of injury or death. I can walk my girls to school or take them around on a bike ride or a coach a little league practice at a nearby ball field in dignity and peace.

I have had nightmares about my children, especially my young daughters, looking to me for protection from forces that are beyond my control. I can't deliver and it leaves me feeling angry and unworthy of the mission God has given me as father of my children.

One of the most haunting scenes in one of the World War II movies (I forget which one) about persecution of the Jews was a small boy crying and trying to wake up his dead father who is sprawled pathetically on the street in the midst of a chaotic movement of desperate people.

Thanks to the American military, that's not me -- or my child feeling abandoned and terrified.

God bless the American veterans.

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