December 26, 2014

Unbroken

December 26, 2014 (360/365): "Unbroken"
(#decemberphotochallenge Day 26: Gratitude)

“America’s fighting men and women sacrifice much to ensure that our great nation stays free. We owe a debt of gratitude to the soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for this cause, as well as for those who are blessed enough to return from the battlefield unscathed.” ~ Allen Boyd

I have been anticipating the release of the Unbroken film with conflicted emotions since I read riveting biography of Louis Zamperini -- juvenile delinquent, college track star, 1936 Olympian who shook hands with Hitler, WWII Air Force captain, survivor of a plane crash and forty-seven days drifting over 2000 miles on a raft in middle of the Pacific Ocean, tortured prisoner of war for two and a half years, recovered alcoholic and PTSD sufferer, inspirational speaker, coach, and philanthropist. As I turned the pages last year, I continually reminded myself that Zamperini was going to make it through all of these harrowing trials, knowing that, at 97 year old, he consulted with Angelina Jolie in the making of the Unbroken film. Sadly Louie Zamperini died last summer before yesterday's film release.

I knew that this film would be hard for me, but I kept telling myself that if Louie could survive all that he went through, I should be strong enough to watch. Unfortunately, the movie focused more on the horrors of Louie's experiences and less on his remarkable character. Though to be fair, how could such an extraordinary life be depicted in just two hours? Despite my disappointment in the tone of the film, as real photos of Louis appeared on the screen in the closing sequence, I found myself in tears. I felt a rush of emotion for the brave men and women of The Greatest Generation whom I will always honor in humble gratitude.