February 25th was my husband’s birthday. It was his day and I wanted us to celebrate exactly how he wanted. Well, he’s sort of the home-body type, so we slept in and messed around the house for a while. We talked about mini golf, or maybe heading into Orlando for some touristy fun, but then he decided he wanted to see the new movie, Act of Valor.
Our favorite local theater had it, so we headed out to Port Orange and got two tickets for the 4 o’clock showing. If you haven’t heard of this movie, the idea is pretty awesome. It took forever to film because they used actual Navy Seals, and filming had to be worked around their deployment. Wow, right? That’s exactly what I thought. Now, I know a lot of people (especially most girls out there) will probably not go see this movie because you aren’t action movie fans. I wasn’t looking too forward to it myself, but I was sorely mistaken to think it wasn’t something I’d like. Granted, it’s definitely not a chick flick, but Act of Valor should be on everyone’s must see list.
My immediate family isn’t a military family. Growing up in an all female household, I didn’t really have any experience with the military past knowing they protected our country, and that Fort Gordon was more than a highway in August, GA. It was also an army base. Sure, my high school had an NJ-ROTC program, and I even waited on soldiers at my family restaurant, but as for an intimate knowledge of anything military, forget it. I knew my maternal grandfather had served in the Navy in World War II, and I had friends that went into all branches of the service. I wholeheartedly respect anyone brave enough to commit to serve our great country. But like most Americans, I had no idea what that service entails.
Act of Valor has an intriguing plot, just like you’d expect any good action move to have. The difference? This one is based on actual missions. Actual people. Actual men and women putting themselves in harms way to protect my freedom, and yours. It’s raw, real, and very graphic. You will follow a team of Navy Seals as they work to stop terrorists from harming Americans, on American soil. February 25th started out as a regular evening, but the simple act of catching a movie changed my life.
Everyone in that theater was speechless. Popcorn and candy was left uneaten, drinks remained untouched in their cup holders, and when the credits rolled? Well, they were few, and ended with a list of soldiers that have given the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 protecting the freedoms we as Americans take for grated every moment we breathe. People left the theater in silence. I didn’t see a single person that hadn’t wiped a tear away, or somehow looked deeply affected. It was the most reverent, orderly, respectful thing I’ve ever seen.
Of course, being my usual self, I had to sit there for a few minutes and get my sobbing under control. The swelling of pride I had (and still have) for our country’s military is beyond words. The respect I had for our armed forces before that movie seemed small and insignificant as those credits rolled. I was at once overwhelmingly grateful for their sacrifices and just taken aback at the fact someone I don’t know could ever put themselves in that much danger, just to protect me.
My mind couldn’t stop spilling over the things people just don’t get. Acts of valor like that go on so much more often than we civilians will ever know, and that is why we still have our freedoms. That is why I can say and do what I want. That is why I enjoy every single thing I enjoy, right down to the freedom to write this post unedited and uncensored. That movie shook me to my core.
I’ve always respected our soldiers…past, present, and future. But that respect has depended to unbelievable levels since yesterday. I don’t think there will be a day, probably not even a moment of my day that will pass that I don’t think how blessed I am to live in the United States of America. To all our armed forces out there, and their families, thank you from the very depths of my being, and then some. You are all heroes.