When I watched the HBO movie, Taking Chance over the Memorial Day weekend, the essence of why we celebrate this holiday became crystal clear. This made-for-television movie shows the details of our military's little-publicized policy of providing a uniformed escort for every fallen soldier. Without a doubt it should be seen by every American as it details the reverence given by our military to the dead from the battlefield to the burial.
The movie, starring Kevin Bacon details the bring home and burial of Chance Phelps, a combat Marine, who was killed in Afghanistan. Without comment the movie, with great dignity, shows the process the military invokes for a fallen soldier. But Bacon steals the show with riveting performance projecting the dignity and pride his office gives to this process. More importantly, the embarrassment he shows when being lauded by civilians for his work by the people he comes in touch with when taking Chance's casket to Montana demonstrates the pride our military takes in this difficult time.
Although it is not a typical war film (no conflicts), this is a heart-breaking movie where you see the effect of transporting a dead soldier's coffin has on everyone who comes in contact with it and the military escort (Bacon, who plays Lt. colonel Michael Strobl). From the airport workers who stand at attention when the casket is being loaded and unloaded from the plane to the impromptu gestures of respect that exude from civilians who come in contact with the escort to the scene where Bacon sleeps overnight in the baggage terminal with the casket to make sure it is not disturbed, this movie will bring your emotions to the surface.
Get Taking Chance and experience a fallen Marine's journey home. It's well worth it and is quite appropriate for every day of the year not just Memorial day.