Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beyond My Control . . .

Acts of Valor Mean the SEALs, Marines, Soldiers, Sailors Are in Control

SEALS demonstrate maneuvers at the SEAL
Veteran's Day Muster at the Navy SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida

Act of Valor is a movie I didn’t want to watch, like Blackhawk Down, Battle Los Angeles, and others I’ve pushed from my memory banks. A Room with a View, Pride and Prejudice, and the like are my choices for entertainment. Act of Valor and its kin put me in a state of fear—fear of things over which I have little control.
Act of Valor is a movie about SEALs. Navy SEALs. It’s about acts of valor. SEALs have been more in the news the past few years after Marcus Luttrell’s book, Lone Survivor, was published. The news also brought us the daring (is that redundant in reference to SEALs?) rescue of MV Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips, whom Somali pirates had taken hostage. Osama bin Laden’s rightful end at the hands of SEALs is their most-published endeavor.
Why watch, then? I watch because my son, the aspiring Marine, wants to share what he loves with me. Those things over which I have no control—villains like bin Laden, Somali pirates, warlords in Somalia and Afghanistan—such incidents are far removed from the fiction of Fitzwilliam Darcy and the lovely Elizabeth Bennett professing their love (finally!) in a heather-abundant meadow. The bombing of the USS Cole and the stoning and poisoning of women and female children who want to read and walk free from their burka-cages also are beyond my control—and a far cry from the orchid- and flower-filled gardens that get my attention.
Beyond my control, yes, but not beyond control. That’s where the SEALs, the Marines, the Navy, the Army, its Rangers and Green Berets, and the Air Force come in. All those things beyond my control are the daily business of the United States military.
Once a peace-loving pacifist (and even still in some respects), I have been educated by terrorists to realize our military is necessary.
Acts of valor never seen on the big screen or the published page (Web and paper alike) take place far more often than I—or probably most Americans—want to know.
I want to feel secure on our soil; and my aspiring Marine wants to serve that security to me and the rest of our nation. I try to understand what he wants to do, and often it scares me, so it’s easier to pick up a Victorian novel or watch a tepid drama on the screen rather than sit, eyes covered half the time, and watch movies like Act of Valor.
Watch, I do, though, when he asks me to, and I push aside my fear. And I get an education about real things going on in the world—real threats to freedom. I never want to nurse a female child back to health who was poisoned because she wanted to learn to read. I never want to have to stumble through life burka-clad head to toe. I never again want to see planes fly into towers. Because I don’t want those things for me or for anyone, regardless of which continent or country they call home, I watch those movies and replace my fear with gratitude that my son and thousands of others are prepared to participate in acts of valor—for me, and for you, too.

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