On Sunday I sat down and watched this movie on HBO. I just have to say that I think it was one of the most powerful and heartbreaking things I have ever seen. It is quiet and it isn't preachy. Although it is a movie about the war, it is not political. Somehow, though it has very little dialog, it manages to convey the very real cost of war, the loss of one family's beloved son, and what the words "thanks of a grateful nation" really mean.
It tells the true story of a Marine named Chance Phelps, a 19 year old Lance Cpl. who was killed in Iraq and of the Marine, Lt. Colonel Mike Strobl, who volunteered to escort Chance across the country and return him to his family in a small town in Wyoming. Along the way we are shown the tiny kindnesses extended to both Col. Strobl and Chance, from the ticketing agent who upgrades Col. Strobl to first class to the cargo handlers at the airport who carefully load and unload Chance's casket, to the disembarking passengers who stop to quietly pay their respects as Chance's body is removed from the plane. We also see the honor and dignity that is bestowed on Chance by those who prepare his body for burial and by Strobl, who cares for him as he is returned to his family.
This movie is about service, about sadness and loss and about how our country comes together in times of war and tragedy. It broke my heart. I watched it with tears running down my face from beginning to end and I am crying as I write this. Please watch it. You will feel grateful that you did.