My Thoughts on “American Sniper”

So the wife and I saw “American Sniper” yesterday after a looooong wait.  The only word I can put to it is “historic.”

To call it the best movie I’ve seen in a while would be an understatement of monumental proportions.  The story is amazing.  Every American adult should see this movie.  Period.

American_Sniper

My son is still very young and this movie is filled with profanity and violence – it is a war movie (and a love story) after all – but the day we feel he’s old enough, this will be mandatory viewing.

I can’t say that strongly enough.  Everyone should see this.

The acting was superb, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller were amazing, Clint Eastwood has never been better, blah blah blah.  Who cares.  Just go see it already.

Now that we have all that out of the way, I’ll explain my personal history with this.  Like so many others, I read the book in late 2012 after everyone kept saying “you HAVE to read this.”  I wouldn’t shut up about it to my wife, and finally got her to start reading it.  She couldn’t put it down and finished the book a few short days before Chris Kyle’s murder on Feb 2nd, 2013.

So also like so many others, we were personally touched by Chris Kyle.  The book isn’t your typical war book – it’s a book about real life, about a struggling marriage, about a commitment to friends and a grateful nation, and to it’s core, it’s a book about honor.  You really can’t walk away from the book without feeling like you know Chris personally, so his murder was especially tragic.

In my humble opinion, the movie captured all of that and then some.  It will bring new life to the story of a great American hero and it will tell the story in a way that will, hopefully, keep the story alive.

With the state of the American media anymore, it’s easy to forget that we’re actually at war.  Still.  When Bush was in office, we had body count numbers on the news, we had nutjobs moving next door to the President’s ranch in Texas, and you couldn’t even turn on the news without the war hitting you in the face.  But for some reason, all of that is gone.  We forget that we’re still in the middle of the longest lasting military conflict in our nation’s history.

And we’re not doing a satisfactory job telling the story of the American Soldier.  It’s too easy anymore to forget that brave men and women are still fighting for our freedom.  So movies like “American Sniper” and “Lone Survivor” need to live on.  Those stories, and so many more, need to be told to our children and our grandchildren.  We need to remember.

After the movie, my wife and I were both emotionally exhausted.  The theater was absolutely silent as the credits rolled and I don’t think anyone left until the credits were over.  It’s one of those movies.  But for us, the important discussions happened afterwards – with our son.  We talked about what honor means.  We talked about the fact that we’re still at war and where Iraq and Afghanistan are (he had to find them on a map).  We talked about Al Qaeda and the Taliban (no, they’re not on the run).  We talked about Syria.  And we talked about how to learn from great Americans.

There have been so many that have come before us that we can (and should) learn from.  We need to know about George Washington and all of the things that made him great.  We need to learn about Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.  We need to learn about the great Native American leaders.  We need to learn about General Patton and General Eisenhower.  And we need to know about Chris Kyle.

We also need to learn the low points in American history like slavery and the internment of American citizens into camps during World War II.  We need to teach our children about not just what happened on 9/11/2001 but how we felt and what we did about it.  But no story is complete without a hero – and there are hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands to choose from.

Thank a veteran for keeping us free because we will never know all they’ve been through.  And tell their story.

God Bless this great country and God Bless the American warfighter.

Carry on, Colorado!

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4 comments on “My Thoughts on “American Sniper”

  1. Jim Konzak says:

    Excellent post and review, Jeff. Thank you. Looking forward to the movie even more than I did.

    The list of heroes is nearly endless, but when the time comes I’m betting you won’t forget to teach your son about Lance Sijan, Robin Olds or Joseph Rochefort either (just three favorites I’ve “met” thanks to my ever growing reading list).

  2. Marie says:

    I also thought this movie was incredible. Bradley Cooper was lost in the role; I didn’t even really see Bradley Cooper on the screen–I saw Chris Kyle (I had watched him on Stars Earn Stripes when he was partnered with Dean Cain). I don’t think any other director in Hollywood could have done this except Clint Eastwood. I saw Lone Survivor, too–another amazing movie about our soldiers. Unbroken, Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers…the list goes on. I’m making sure my kids see these films as well (they’re old enough now). Incredible stories of bravery and courage from ordinary men who believed in our nation and its freedoms enough to fight to defend it, even at great personal cost to themselves and their families. We need more films like this to remind us of those sacrifices. And we need the Michael Moores and Seth Rogens of the world to learn to appreciate that the only reason they have the freedom to spout their nonsense is because of men like Chris Kyle, Marcus Luttrell, Louie Zamperini, Hal Moore, etc. Thank you to all of our military for the sacrifices you make so that we can be free.

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