The Unknowm Soldiers: Real life heroes

January 18, 2014 

For me, the most moving part of "Lone Survivor," Peter Berg's film based on real events in Afghanistan, comes just before the final credits. As Peter Gabriel's cover of the classic David Bowie song "Heroes" plays, we see photos of not only the real life heroes of the Operation Red Wings mission, but many of their loved ones.

I was particularly touched by the picture of U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer SEAL Jacques Fontan and his wife, Char.

Last year, I spoke with this courageous Navy SEAL widow about her fallen husband and his towering legacy.

"People say 'do you think he would have still gone if he knew he wasn't coming back?'" Char said. "And I say he would have."

Eight years after her husband was among those killed trying to rescue four fellow Navy SEALs cornered during the June 28, 2005, battle that is so grippingly portrayed in the movie, Char perfectly summarized the selfless mindset of our country's military community. Since 9/11, less than one percent of our population has carried almost impossible burdens to shield 99 percent of us from having to join the fight.

Some reviews of "Lone Survivor," which opened in the top spot of the North American box office, have accused the film of being a "jingoistic" oversimplification of the war in Afghanistan. The trepidation coming from certain media precincts is predictable, as some journalists are uncomfortable with the age-old concept of good and evil.

The simple truth, with rare exceptions that are usually splashed all over television and computer screens, is that our brave men and women in uniform are good, while members of al-Qaida and the Taliban are bad.

In no way does that view advocate, as one reviewer inaccurately and disgracefully suggested, that the movie portrays all non-Americans as enemies.

In fact, two of the film's heroes are an Afghan father and son who put their lives at risk.

Having read the book of the same name, written by Petty Officer 1st Class SEAL Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, the ultimate purpose of "Lone Survivor" is to salute America's armed forces and the bold Afghans and Iraqis who have joined the fight against those who terrorize the innocent. One does not have to support either war -- or the two U.S. presidents to oversee them -- to appreciate the valor of patriots who are willing to sacrifice everything.

In "Lone Survivor," the tragic incident that took the lives of Chief Petty Officer SEAL Jacques Fontan and his fellow rescuers serves as a key moment.

Instead of viewing the sequence like any other special effects-laden movie scene, I hope filmgoers realize that the sacrifices of our military community, which continue to this day, are not being made in some fictional universe. They are real.

Tom Sileo, Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service