I recently posted that I would comment on books and movies that make an impact on me. Last, week, while still in the theatre watching "American Sniper", starring Bradley Cooper, I knew this was a film I would write about.
It is a well-acted and produced film, and I was glad I went with my husband to see it. He had been upset by certain comments concerning the real-life character portrayed in the film; that he was not a hero. Some even called him a murderer.
My husband is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and has been under care for PTSD. Even before he saw the film, he made the remark that people who've never been in a war might not understand the character of Chris Kyle. We talked about this subject at length, and my husband's words resonated with me as I watched the story unfold onscreen.
It's important to my husband, and I'm sure to all combat veterans, that those who have never had to defend our country in a time of war, cannot possibly understand the multitude of duties coupled with emotions that face a soldier. Kyle did what he was trained to do, and, if he hadn't, the men he was sent to protect would have certainly died.
The war he was a part of is different from what my husband was involved in. And Vietnam was a totally different conflict from the one our fathers fought in WWII. We have to remember those differences because they require totally distinct mindsets for the soldiers. However, decisions made on the battlefield - any battlefield - can never compare with what we experience in everyday life.
I'm not saying everyone will enjoy this film; it is difficult to watch. But, if you view it, I hope you keep this idea in your mind: the man Kyle was, and the soldier he was - each required totally different mental abilities and strengths. If you do that, I believe you'll come away from seeing "Amercian Sniper" with an understanding and appreciation of what he did during his too-short lifetime. And, yes, he was a hero - to me.