Never before have I heard the audience in a packed-to-capacity movie theater so silent. But never before has there been a movie like this one.
My husband and I went to see Act of Valor the afternoon it opened. The theater was full before we arrived. We were lucky to find two seats together.
This film “stars” real active duty U.S. Navy SEALS. We’ll never know their names or see them receive an Oscar because they are the real deal. By now they are, or soon will be, back on the job. Focused. Protecting America. Putting their lives on the line for you and me.
I barely breathed through the whole movie.
It is intense. It is powerful.
It has always been my assumption that it is mostly men who like war movies. So it was no surprise when there were less than ten women in the theater where we saw Act of Valor. And that is partly what made it such a powerful experience for me.
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I live in a military town. The theater was packed with soldiers in uniform and Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy. Young men and women who signed up for the military after 9/11. They signed up for war. Voluntarily.
So they weren’t just watching a movie. They were getting a glimpse of what their future might hold.
I knew someone who lived like this movie shows. “Ron” was a Special Operations Army Ranger. Though I asked he didn’t tell many stories, but the few that leaked out in conversation were jaw droppers.
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So when the movie felt a bit intense to chick-flick-lovin’ me, I reminded myself, Real people like Ron do this for our country.
Real people like the young men I sat next to. The same ones who quickly wiped their eyes when one of the story characters made the ultimate sacrifice.
The guys next to me might do the same one day.
For the men and women who defend our country, I decided I could show my support and sit through a movie filled with live ammunition, artificial blood, and a few F-words.
(Proud to say, I never closed my eyes.)
By paying $8, munching on popcorn, and sitting in a comfortable movie theater, I told Hollywood who the real heroes are. I cast my vote of appreciation for the unknown military heroes who defend our freedoms.
I encourage you to do the same.
(Even if you have to close your eyes.)