I stood behind the movie theater with my second oldest daughter in my arms as she sobbed. She held it together, just long enough to make it away from the crowds and more importantly away from the hero's wife, Taya.
This is what I will remember about seeing the movie American Sniper.
We sat next to Taya Kyle. I don't know how she does it. She is a strong seal wife and good mother. She has been through enough and Jesse Ventura too.
This movie left me a bit shell shocked. All the stuff actual movie critics will talk about is true. Bradley Cooper is oscar worthy. You completely forget it is him. Eastwood is a genius. The opening scene is one of the most powerful on film. I would say it is the psycho shower scene if we were still in the age of innocence. But we are not, and that is what I took from the movie.
Evil is a part of our life now. A big part and growing.
As I sat in the darkened theater, I questioned:
Who are these men that we send in our name?
How do they return to a normal life?
How do our soldiers not just snap and shoot some of these people like the animals they were?
What hell have we unleashed?
What Pandora's box have we opened?
Now that our politicians have squandered the blood was it worth it?
How do we expect to relate to those who live in the Middle East?
How do I expect to relate to those who have stared evil in the face?
How many brave people in the Middle East helped us and now we have left for dead to face Isis?
Why does CNN no longer count the dead?
CNN: Was it really only ever about getting bush out?
If not, where is your coverage?
Do you not cover it now because of ratings?
How do you in the media sleep at night?
How do our heroes sleep after all they have seen?
Where are the "not in my name" rallies?
Where are the international "answer" rallies?
How does soros sleep at night?
Does anyone mean what they say anymore?
Does anyone really even care?
Why haven't I served the men who are in hospitals today?
Why are we all walking in this trance?
Are we witnessing the end of an empire?
How can we strengthen our children to face the hatred and evil that grows closer everyday?
How do we write and preserve history so those in the future can learn from our 100 year suicide?
Most of these I can answer. The last one is tough, because we are worn out and we no longer feel war and killing is a sport in some cities, and no longer anything but a video game.
WW2 lasted four years. F O U R! This has gone on for 14!
Why? Are we safer? Are those in the Middle East? The Christians and moderate Muslims in Iraq tonight, I would imagine, pray for the return of the days of Saddam Hussein. How many of our soldiers pray for their life or limb back.
How many parents pray for their child back?
How does a country and an entire generation recover from this?
My children are lucky. Someday they will tell stories about the people they have met, the amazing people who sat at our table or we at theirs...
World leaders, business and faith leaders. My kids will recall eating Chinese food with Billy Graham, being on a first name basis with "Mr. Buble", meeting the head of Google, touching the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, hugging uncle Marcus Lutrell when he needed one and tonight experiencing American Sniper sitting next to Taya Kyle as she tried to hide her tears while we did the same.
At the same time, my children have it worse than the average kid. My daughter heard the conversation with a senator in DC tonight as we discussed "what comes next" for the world. They hear the future before they live it. They know these giants of war and see their pain first hand. Whether they are the men and women that have been executed by the media elites for daring to stand against power, or dare to love and serve their country only to be forgotten.
I have not experienced a movie like this before. I am left with a true feeling of war. A clear look at evil. A true feeling of what is important and one question I could not answer which was whispered by my daughter as I held her hand in the truck on the way home.
"Now what do we do daddy? We have seen it, and we know ... But now what do we do?"
I wish I knew. But then again, maybe it's best I don't.
American Sniper. Hard to watch. Harsh in every way. True vision of war and hatred. True depiction of American heroes. Brilliantly done all around.
Featured image courtesy of the AP.