Like most of you, I’ve followed the attacks, aftermath, news and hearings on Benghazi since they began hitting the air waves. Last month I read the book upon which the 13 Hours move is based. I’ve also become quite familiar with the two Navy SEALs who gave their lives in that fight, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Dougherty. As vivid as my imagination of what unfolded was and as angry as I’d become over American’s being left to die, nothing could have prepared me for watching 13 Hours at the theatre yesterday.
In the last few years, as so many Veterans have come home and those of us who haven’t seen war try to understand what they’ve experienced, war movies have taken on a new characteristic. They’re being made just a couple years following the portrayed events. Not decades after the fact, as was the case with World War 2 and even more recent battles like the one portrayed in Black Hawk Down. From Lone Survivor to American Sniper and now 13 Hours, these movies are directed in part by the survivors are silver-screen memorials to their fallen brothers. In an age when barely 1% of Americans join a uniformed service, these memoirs show battle through the warriors eyes, not through the agenda news anchor and camera man.
This should not be a political story. It never needed to be. In fact, my anger isn’t towards a singular political figure, political party or even the bureaucracy that slowed response. My fury isn’t a manufactured outrage springing from a desire to beat the Democrats and my gratitude for this movie’s release isn’t because I think it will help Republicans.
What infuriates me, and in turn makes this a political story, is that we have allowed a culture to arise within our government, and some of society at large, that is willing to send the bravest of our men and women into extreme danger and then disavow them when they become inconvenient. The mere existence of these protectors is frustrating to them, until their lives face direct threat. Once that threat is neutralized, they become seen as a liability once more.
You and I may not be able to solve this problem, but we can contribute by reminding ourselves of the sacrifices they make on our behalf and rebuilding a culture that values their sacrifice.
We can do that by honoring their fallen brothers. We can do that by supporting the survivors. You can do that by going to see 13 Hours.
You’ll walk out of the movie tense, awed by the power and sacrifice of the men who fought there, angry at everyone who contributed, through action or inaction, to their lack of support and praying that we NEVER leave our fellow Americans in a situation like that again.
That’s why you need to see 13 Hours.