Remembering The Fallen As We Try To Keep It Together

Photo by Chris Cocoles

America. On a day when we need to take a step back and remember all of those who lost their lives fighting for the freedom too many of us take for granted, I’m trying to process where we’re at as a country. But I won’t get political on this day; our fallen servicemen and -women don’t deserve that.

Last week one of my favorite war movies was on TV, so I had to watch it. 1957’s The Enemy Below is the story of a World War II cat-and-mouse battle waged in the South Atlantic between an American destroyer and a German U-Boat. This is on those sentimental films for me that I can’t take my eyes off when it’s broadcast. It was a film I watched with my dad – a Navy veteran – frequently back in the day.

I love the two captains, Robert Mitchum’s U.S. Capt. Murrell and the German U-boat skipper, Von Stolberg, played by Curt Jürgens. Theirs was a fascinating matchup of smart commanders trying to get into the minds of each other and analyzing each other’s next move. And when their lives intersect at the end, without giving away any spoilers for those who haven’t seen it, it’s memorable.

So to is the scene below, when the German sub attempts to lull the destroyer into a catastrophic mistake by singing loudly to ensure that their noise will be picked up by Sonar. Rather than a sentimental good-bye, it’s a tactical strategy by a wily, veteran captain.

The film makes me miss my late dad, but it also provides so much perspective about the sacrifices these sailors – nationality be damned – made for their countries.

So as we’re still reeling from the senseless tragedies in recent weeks, it’s important to take that step back and remember our fallen fellow Americans – from Bunker Hill to Gettysburg, from the Battle of the Bulge to the Tet Offensive to Operation Desert Shield. Enjoy your holiday.