Monday, May 30, 2011


Caught this PBS documentary several nights ago but thought I'd post about it on Memorial Day in honor of the service people who it's about. Well, actually it's about one specific battle in The Korean War and some of the men who fought in it and others involved.

It's the usual mix of historic footage, including battle scenes recorded at the time, and talking heads, mostly the now elderly veterans of the battles telling the story of it and the men they fought with, and against. Incredibly poignant and moving. Except for the inclusion of people like Newt Gingrich and Ollie North, who had nothing to do with that war or that battle but for some reason are brought in as commentators, which I found aggravating and superfluous (there are too many lies on the record from those guys for any testimony they might give to hold any validity for me).

But once again we hear from veterans who never talked of their experiences for most of their lives until very late, and thank God not too late, at least for the ones represented in this film. It's heartbreaking that their stories have been pretty much neglected because Korea has been the forgotten war for most of the years since it ended (or rather paused with a truce since it has  never officially ended).

No matter what your politics or perspective on war might be, the stories of those who fight in them are always compelling since they express such an aberration in the lives of most of us humans, a period when the impulse of self preservation and the natural resistance to killing another human are put on hold while life becomes all about death and destruction and fear.

HOLD AT ALL COSTS is definitely worth seeing, and made me want to see more documentaries on The Korean War, and look forward to the Ken Burns documentary on The Vietnam War which I believe he's in the process of doing now. Not just because they honor the memory of those who have literally experienced hell so that the rest of us might not have to, but because we need to remember this history in order to learn from it and hopefully some blessed day learn to find a better way to resolve our differences.


Jamie Rose said...

I spent a lot of time watching programming honoring our service men and women this weekend. Last's PBS special. And then tonight watched the fine HBO film "Taking Chance." They followed the airing of the film with a special dedication to our recent fallen--the names scrolled on and on. Too many. Spent a lot of time crying this weekend. Felt like a real Memorial day to me.


Lally said...

Jamie, I caught "Taking Chance" last night myself and was totally moved by it, as I was once again by what I think has become my favorite movie of all time "The Best years of Our Lives."