Monday, March 8, 2010

Saving Private Ryan

Did you watch the Oscars Sunday night? I didn't. It's another change in my personality that really intrigues me. In the past, I never missed a single award show - People's Choice, Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, American Music Awards, etc. Today, I don't even pay attention to who is nominated.

I remain a fan of the movies, television and theater. So instead of watching the Oscars, I watched a movie - seemed appropriate.  I watched the amazing Steven Spielberg movie, "Saving Private Ryan." It is emotional movie in many ways, but for me the scene that destroys me is the final one in the cemetery in France. Not the rows and rows of white markers representing the thousands who died, but seeing James Ryan - the title character - standing before the grave of the man who saved him.  He is standing there wearing a golf polo shirt with a powder blue golf jacket over it, looking very much like my dad. It was his official uniform for the last 10 years of his life. 

My dad was a World War II Veteran who served in the Pacific. He was very proud of that service and rightly so.  He would rarely talk about his time in the Navy and I never pushed him for information. I so wished that I had.

When I first saw the movie in 1998, it had only been four years since my dad had past away. While I shed a tear or two during the movie, I started to sob uncontrollably during the final scene as the character was now my dad standing there in his golf jacket.  Since we had met at the theater, Dan walked me to my car, but I was still crying. I told him that I would be fine and that he should go home. I would cry for another 20 minutes sitting there in my car.

So, I watched "Saving Private Ryan" this past Oscar night, now 16 years removed from my dad's death. I still cried pretty hard, but when the scene was over, my crying was over, too.  I wonder if I cry today more from the emotional memory of how that  final scene impacted me or because I still see my dad in his golf jacket.

I can't think of any other movie that has impacted me emotionally like this movie did. Do you have a "Saving Private Ryan" movie that causes you to react differently?

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