Originally Published Around 10 March
Though many of my Marine friends and I were rightfully skeptical of HBO’s original movie “Taking Chance” before it aired, (Hollywood’s not been friendly toward the military for many years now) after seeing it, we’ve all been quite impressed.
“Taking Chance” is based on the true story of Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl’s journey while escorting home another Marine, Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, who was killed in Iraq during April of 2004.
The film doesn’t reveal an agenda, it only shares Strobl’s story, and Chance’s, and it does so superbly.
We’ve all reported cases of the television set becoming blurry while we watched.
HBO beautifully captures the story, the emotion, and the moment. The film reminds us of why war is so difficult, whether you’ve been there or not, even long after the fact.
In Lieutenant Colonel Strobl’s case, it shows the emotional struggle and guilt of many who don’t feel like they’ve done their part.
It shares a quite poignant moment with a Sergeant who was right there with Chance when he was killed; quite representative of the challenges faced by those who were there.
“Taking Chance” does more than share a piece of history and a story of sacrifice. It reveals the personal cost of war amongst those who fight them. And for all, the cost is different.
Though the story stays true to itself, it really does give important glimpses into how and why veterans and their families endure what they do.
As such, maybe it will help someone understand why their Marine or soldier “just had to go” over there.
There may be an answer about why their soldier who did go can’t seem to forgive him or herself for things that happened.
There are burdens that never seem to fall and can’t ever seem to be shared.
It can help us understand those who visit the grave of a buddy and cry until they can’t cry anymore. For some it’s therapeutic, not so much for others.
Even when you’ve been there, it helps you grasp why some you know crawl in a bottle afterward, while others try to hide from the memories. They make themselves scarce and the last citing is of them looking rather Bohemian before they’re simply gone.
Others bottle it all up and either cope or do not. Emotions on the extremes are not uncommon. Nor are sudden revelations years after the fact.
The movie may help others gain some empathy for the families of those who serve. They deal with the nightmare of the white buses taking their loved ones to war, the white car bringing Marines in dress uniforms with awful news, and everything in between.
It may help us understand why some soldiers have to keep going back into the battle, while others battle ghosts and sleeplessness at home.
We can also watch “Chance” and understand the infinite pride for our Marine Corps. It shows why the brotherhood established in war is a lifelong bond and commitment amongst those who’ve shared it.
And yet for others, it was all really no big deal, which is awesome for them, but keeps friends and family on edge as they “wait for the other shoe to drop.”
Yes, a well done HBO movie about a Marine and all the lives he touched can uncover that much, reveal that many answers, and inspire that much emotion. Well done, HBO.