We've signed up for Netflix so we've been able to watch some movies that we hadn't been aware were even available. One of those was Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon.
I was not prepared for the emotional depth of this movie. It's an HBO movie so I'm not sure it was ever in theaters, and I'd never heard of it. But, wow, what a powerful movie.
Bacon is a Marine Corps officer who has a desk job. He analyzes statistics and then presents reports. He's safe. He's not in battle. His life is not on the line. He goes home to his family every night. And it bothers him. So he obsessively checks the lists of soldiers killed in battle. He discovers that a kid from his hometown, who he doesn't personally know, has been killed in action in Iraq and his body needs an escort. Bacon's character volunteers to escort the fallen soldier back to his grieving family.
Thus begins a journey that not only changes Bacon's character, but anyone who watches the movie. I was touched by the respect given to this young man as his body traveled across country. I was touched by the care with which the military personnel prepared his body and made sure his uniform was perfect. It stirred within me a deep reverence for those who willingly put their lives on the line and face combat each day. This fallen soldier had a family, friends, a life, a past. He affected so many people in life and in death.
What makes this story even more powerful is that it's true. At the end of the movie when Bacon's character wonders what good he's done, another character tells him that he's Chance's witness. If he doesn't tell the world about Chance then Chance will be forgotten. He's the witness that Chance lived and gave his life to serve our country.
I'll warn you, make sure you have plenty of tissues because you'll need them. This is an emotionally wrenching movie, but definitely worth watching. I think I've been too detached from those serving in the military and haven't realized what the soldiers and their families have to endure. I'm sure I don't know the half of it, but Taking Chance has helped me think about those in the military, and their families, in a more profound and grateful way.