Tag Archives: soldiers

Why I Almost Walked Out of American Sniper

American Sniper

You might have clicked on this post expecting to find some anti-American, leftist liberal rant on the military and how America is a bully, based on the title I posted. But you’re not going to find that here. Ever.

And it’s pretty rare for me to post a movie review, and this isn’t really that, either.

But I did almost walk out of this movie. Twice, actually.

But before we get to that, let me tell you the reasons why I think you (and everyone else) should see this movie. In the process of doing that, I think I can better explain why I almost walked out.

You need to see this movie because, as everyone who sees it will agree, Chris Kyle (the American Navy SEAL & sniper whom the movie depicts) did some amazing stuff for America.

Hero? Yes. Expert skills? Definitely. And the fact that he survived some incredible horrors of war only to be taken from this earth in such an unexplainable way (no spoiler alert– this was news in 2013), well, it’s one of those great mysteries. He served his country bravely and to honor his memory, you need to know his story. You need to know that he was willing, like so many, to give his life in service to protect you; protect me.

Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.

Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.

You need to see this movie because you need to give a face to all those soldiers you are grateful for and realize the horrors they face.

They fight and die every single day. All over the world. They are willing to give what many are not– their lives. We thank them, we honor them, we post statuses about how grateful we are on Facebook, but do we really realize what they are going/have gone through? This movie gives you a glimpse of the realities of war. Other movies have done it, but for some reason, this movie makes you feel like you’re in it. It puts you there, and I promise, that gratitude you felt for our soldiers and sailors before this movie will only be multiplied after. Perhaps you’ll even decide you want to do more to honor our brave and our fallen. Perhaps you’ll finally understand what war PTSD is and why it is a very, very real thing. Perhaps you’ll honor the memory of not only Chris Kyle, but all of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for these United States.

You need to see this movie because you live in a bubble.

Stated plainly, we complain about dumb things most of the time. We live in comfort and freedom, and for the most part, we’re blessed beyond measure. We complain about bad hair days and people who get on our nerves and when we run out of coffee or get cut off in traffic and the fact that we hate Mondays. And yet we have the opportunity to live in peace. Meanwhile, all over the globe, children are born into war zones and suffer unimaginable torment at the hands of Evil.

This is why I almost left during the movie. As a Social Studies teacher and a student of the world, I’m well aware of the atrocities committed throughout the world historically and in present day. But I’ve only read about them. I’ve only heard about them. I’ve never had to witness them with my own eyes. Sure, American Sniper is a movie and it’s a dramatization of events, but it’s realistic. It’s horrible. And it truly shows how Evil is alive and working in our world.

Not only was I sobbing at various points throughout this movie, I found myself praying, “Come, Jesus. Come.” I almost couldn’t take it– this realistic depiction of evil. I don’t want to believe that people are capable of doing such horrible things to each other, but they are. Oh, they are.

The bubble around me popped. You can’t watch a movie like this, see the horrible things that man is willing to do to another man (or woman or child), not just in the name of a god or of an organization, but in the name of hatred, and go back to your cushy life and pretend the horror doesn’t exist.

Our soldiers face this evil every day on the battlefield and they persevere. They press on. They fight it and try to protect freedom because that’s one of our basic rights as humans. And they make split-second decisions that we pray we never, ever have to make. This is why we are grateful– because they have to make the decisions and carry out the actions we never, ever want to have to face.

Our nation and our world face this evil– those who torture and murder and kill for no good reason at all. It manifests itself in many ways, but people all over the world are suffering.

This world so desperately needs love. It so desperately needs joy. People so desperately need rescuing. They so desperately need the Savior.

American Sniper is not a “Christian” movie. While there are mentions of God, it’s not a theological movie in any sense. But if you can walk away from it and not be moved just by seeing how good we’ve got it and how horrendous daily life is for others across the globe, I fear your heart is too far gone.

When the movie ended, our theater was silent. People filed out without speaking. The weight was heavy. I cried my way to the car.

This is an emotional film, packed with violence, foul language, and the realization that we have so, so much to be grateful for, and so, so much work to do in the world combating Evil, not just on the other side of the globe, but within our own neighborhoods; within our own hearts.

See this movie. Honor the memory of Chris Kyle. Honor the memory of every fallen soldier who has ever stared Evil in the eye and said, “bring it.” Honor those who have stared Evil in the eye and lived to tell– those still haunted by their memories.

See this movie so that you can get out of your bubble and realize just how good you’ve got it and how much work there is to do.

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