A couple nights ago we watched a World War II movie together…Grandpa Jack, Grandma and me.
And we really, really enjoyed it. I appreciated some of the messages it contained, and found it very interesting to think about the way the US used propaganda to keep interest and support positive for the American people during the war. I always think of the word “propaganda” in a negative sense, but it was so blatant in this movie…as if the whole movie was made just for that purpose. Actually, propaganda is all around us all the time….but I’m not going to go into that now. Back to the movie…
It was exciting. Suspenseful. Interesting. We laughed. And we cried.
But what was really interesting about the movie was watching it with Jack. Nothing brings a moment in history to life like hearing the stories first hand. Jack was there. Not on this actual trip, but he was in the South Pacific during the war. The airplane that we saw land in the water just off the Aleutian Islands was just like the one he first flew as a pilot in the Navy. He knew the meaning of the stripes on the uniforms. He knew what they were talking about when they mentioned different maneuvers and strategies and technicalities. The story was based on actual events. He remembered it. In fact, Imdb says that “The operation of the submarine as shown in this movie was so accurate that the Navy used it as a training film during World War II”.
Jack explained what the anti-submarine nets were and how they were used and what they were made of and how “we” avoided them. He understood the feelings the men voiced about the Japanese…had felt what they said…and has overcome. Watching this with him made me realize that this wasn’t just a war movie. This was a snapshot of life…a life that he had lived through.
The movie was two hours long, and then we sat for another 30 minutes as Jack pointed out interesting “trivia”. The next day, he had some files out holding his navy records from when he enlisted till he resigned, as well as photographs of a handsome, young Navy pilot in those amazing uniforms.
I kept wishing my “little brothers” could be there to hear him. ALL my little brothers…especially the ones that are so interested in war history. You know who you are…and you would have loved it. I know I did.