From the Desk of John Hanson, SVP of Communications at the USO:
[caption id=“attachment_1510” align=“alignright” width=“277” caption=“Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner and TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll at the TAPS screening of The Hurt Locker in August 2009.”][/caption]
Okay. Maybe it’s time to take a breath about The Hurt Locker. [Ed. note: take a moment to read an interview with the film’s Anthony Mackie and see how he supports the troops.] Some vets are offended that it wasn’t completely accurate. Fair enough. It wasn’t a documentary. Films about, say journalists (All the President’s Men, or Broadcast News, for example) aren’t, either, but they’re entertaining and provide SOME insight. I’m not all that sure Wall Street was completely accurate, but it was educational in a way.
So, Hurt Locker, didn’t provide absolute accuracy. The explosions were too pretty for my taste, but it was a feature film. What can we take from it?
There’s a feeling across the land that Americans aren’t engaged in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Americans feel it, veterans sense it, and that might be what we should expect.
There’s no draft. Until the 70s, if there was an 18-year-old male in a household, there was at least a reasonable chance that he’d be in the military. Today, that isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing for a draft. Today’s military is too good to go back to that model. But, as great and talented and committed as our troops are, they’re a really small part of the population. When they get out of the military, they tend to do what every generation of veterans does – go to school, get jobs, raise families and be extremely valuable parts of their communities.
Few wear their decorations on their suits. Very few even let you know they served, unless you ask them. They just become the strongest threads of the fabric of this country.
Part of me would like welcome home parades and all that kind of thing. A big part of me would love for the country to take a moment – it can even be a random moment – to thank troops and their families for their service and sacrifice. Not because those of us who served a generation ago didn’t get that, but because it would be a proper and polite thing to do. It’s about more than thanking a service member in an airport. It’s about more than misting up on Memorial Day. It’s about recognizing that service and sacrifice are responsibilities each of us bears in different ways. Some just run the risk of paying a higher price.
And, understand the stress of one deployment to Afghanistan to Iraq can be debilitating in some ways. Never mind 3 or 4 deployments. These troops and vets need our support and understanding. Our wounded warriors shouldn’t be ignored, either.
So, maybe this Best Picture Academy Award® (I love trademarks) winner deserves something more from us. Maybe it requires that we look at it as a learning opportunity. In our communities there are OIF/OEF vets quietly putting their lives back together, and they are doing their part to making our lives better.
Let’s return the favor.
More from the USO
Aug 24, 2016
USO and the What To Expect Foundation Host Special Delivery Baby Shower in Dover
Being pregnant isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. But being pregnant and having a spouse in the military – or serving yourself – can make the expecting experience exponentially more difficult. That’s why the USO and the What to Expect Foundation, led by best-selling author Heidi Murkoff, team to bring Special Delivery Baby Showers to military bases around the world.
Aug 24, 2016
A Dish in the Desert: USO Piloting Expeditionary Satellite Internet Kit Program for Service Members Downrange
After months of research, two reinforced plastic cases arrived at Camp Shorab, a once-bustling Marine Corps base in Southwestern Afghanistan. When unpacked the packages’ color-coded contents provided a free USO internet connection for troops on the ground.