Memorial Day Movies
The last Monday in May is the day set aside for Americans to remember those who have been injured or lost their lives while serving their country. Dating back to the end of the Civil War, Memorial Day now includes all conflicts ever engaged in by the United States.
Over the years many films have been made to illustrate the courage of these service men. And sharing one of them with your family on Memorial Day may be a great way to pay tribute to these selfless heroes.
Some of the commanding officers of the Civil War are portrayed in the epic movie Gods and Generals, while the deprivations faced by the women folk left at home are dramatized in the classic Gone With The Wind.
The invention of the airplane hardly gets off the ground before it is put to combat use in World War I. Fly Boys follows the challenges of learning to master these fledgling machines and put them to use as weapons.
When the “war to end all wars” fails to due so, Europe becomes entangled in the early battles of World War II. The attack on Pearl Harbor eventually drags the United Sates into the conflict. Both the American and the Japanese sides of this story are depicted in Tora! Tora! Tora!
Other troops stationed in tropical waters get involved in sabotage efforts in Frogmen. A more family-friendly look at army personnel is found in the musical South Pacific (which was treated to a remake in 2001).
The plight of POWs and the attempts to rescue some of these prisoners of war are depicted in Unbroken, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Escape and The Great Raid.
Submarine subterfuge is the mission of U-571, when an American vessel is retrofitted to look like a German U-boat.
Dealing with the emotional effects of military service, Forrest Gump features an injured Vietnam veteran. Grace is Gone focuses on a father’s grief as he tries to tell his daughters about the death of their mother who was killed in the Iraq war. Dear John follows the ongoing letter relationship between a member of the Army Special Forces and his loyal girlfriend, while Max tells the tale of a service dog who loses his handler—but gains a family.
For some, especially children and teens, it can be hard to imagine the real losses from war. The documentary Paper Clips shows how teachers in a small Tennessee school helped their students understand the size of the atrocities committed in WWII. The experience will be educational for all viewers of this film too.
While there are no adequate words to say “thank you” to those who have bought for us our freedom, we honor that gift when we pledge to “always remember.”
PS: Canada and Newfoundland aid the American Air Force in Above and Beyond. (Canada and other commonwealth countries honor their war veterans each year on Remembrance Day, which is observed on November 11—the anniversary of the armistice of WWI).