Today is Veterans day, an officially observed United States holiday that honors military veterans. Sometimes, unless we are directly related to a veteran, we don't get to hear stories and learn about the sacrificies that were made by those men and women for the security and safety of the country. Thanks to Hollywood, there are many movies that allow us to learn about the lives of these people and acknowledge their service. Here are some of those movies and the stories of the people behind them.
American Sniper (2014) - Chris Kyle
Thw United States Navy SEAL veteran and sniper, Chris Kyle, is the hero of this 2014 movie. Though he wanted to originally join the Marine, he eventually enrolled with the SEALs, with which he served four tours in the Iraq War. He was considered one of the United states most effective snipers in Iraq. He also became known as "The Legend". He was awarded a Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and other awards. He left the U.S. Navy in 2009 and moved to Texas with his family, where he was the president of a tactical training company for the U.S. military and law enforcement communities. He also collaborated in the creation of the Heroes Project that provides free in-home fitness equipment, training, and life-coaching to veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, and veterans with PTSD. Unfortunately on February 2, 2013 he was shot and killed at a shooting range when he was just 38 years old.
The Tillman Story (2010) - Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman started his football career in college. In 1998 he was selected in the National Football League Draft as the 226th pick by the Arizona Cardinals. He proceeded to achieving accolades and multi-million contracts. However, eight months after the September 11 attacks, he turned down another contract and decided to enlist in the army. He was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and later was redeployed to Afghanistan. He was killed by a friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan. He was posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal and received Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.
Flags of Our Fathers (2006) - John Bradley
John Bradley enlisted the U.S. Navy on January 1943. On February 19, 1945 he took part in the assault in Iwo Jima as member of the 5th Marine Division. He risked his life to save the life of a Marine, while they were both under open heavy Japanese fire. His bravery and actions awarded him the Navy Cross for extraodinary heroism. On February 23 he was part of the combat patrol that was sent to climb Mount Suribachi to seize and occupy the crest. On November 1945 he was discharged from the Navy due to medical conditions. At the age of 70, Bradley suffered a heart attack and died of a stroke. He is buried in queen of Peace Cemetery in Wisconsin.
Megan Leavy (2017) - Megan Leavey
Leavey enlisted in the Marines in 2003 and was paired with military working dog Rex. While together they were deployed twice in Iraq, first in 2005 and then in 2006. They were both wounded by an explosive device in their Ramadi 2006 deployment. For her heroism, Leavey was awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Rex developed facial palsy after his 2006 injury and could no longer be used for sniffing bombs. Leavey stayed by his side and petitioned to adopt him, which she was finally able to do in April 2012 thanks to intervention by Senator Chuck Schumer. Unfortunately, Rex died on December that same year.
13 Hours: The secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) - Tyrone S. Woods
Woods joined the Navy when he was 18 years old and became a SEAL. He served in multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which he received many awards. He joined the CIA in 2010, out of a continuing wish to serve his country. He was part of the CIA team during the attack on the State Department's mission facility in Benghazi in 2012. He was one of the agents that responded to the attack, trying to save Ambassador Stevens while fighting under heavy fire. He helped saving the lives of 30 Americans before returning to the CIA base. He took a defensive position when the Base was under attack. Defending the Base from the rooftop, while dangering his own life, he was killed along with fellow officer Glen doherty. He was 41 years old.
Other recommended movies to watch:
- The Hurt Locker - (2008)
- Black Hawk Down - (2001)
- Behind Enemy Lines - (2001)
- Three Kings - (1999)
- 12 Strong - (2018)
- War Machine - (2017)