color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: "ER" The TV Show: "Twenty-one Guns"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"ER" The TV Show: "Twenty-one Guns"

Last week, I wrote that I hoped that the writers and producers of "ER" -- which have shamelessly used the show to promote their anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America agenda -- would "show the funeral and burial of an American Hero that died in service to his country -- a service for which he VOLUNTEERED and for which he gave his all -- that you might treat the soldier's death with respect and dignity... recognizing the valiant and noble effort of our American warriors." I also lamented that we would probably not hear of any of the good things that our soldiers do or about the atrocities and violence perpetrated by the terrorists and jihadis and just plain criminals in Iraq today.
I was bracing for the worst... thankfully, I was only partially right. None of the accomplishments of the Coalition were mentioned and, of course, none of the bad things by terrorists were highlighted either. I was, however, pretty amazed at the restraint shown at Captain (Dr.) Gallant's military funeral. Not just by the writers, but the scenes of the funeral itself.
First, let me say, that I did find the scenes of the funeral tasteful in that the funeral was not used as a political (i.e., anti-anything) statement. I was certainly and pleasantly surprised that Dr. Pratt told the grieving widow that her husband and others like him feel that they can make a difference in the world and that they feel a need to be part of something bigger than themselves. At one point, the widow questions whether her husband's death was noble, but I took that more as the anger of losing her husband and not a statement about whether the goals in Iraq are noble.
Oddly, my reaction was that there wasn't enough grieving at the funeral. I have only been to one military funeral, but it was about the saddest event I have ever experienced in my life. It wasn't just mournful -- it was gut wrenching and heart wrenching and overwhelming grief, especially for the family. Losing a young man in the prime of his life -- to be torn from the grasp of his young wife, his mother, father, friends.... is not only sad, it is -- in the truest sense of the word -- tragic.
However, in this "ER" episode, at the gravesite, the mother is perfectly coifed and her makeup is impeccable. The widow certainly looked sad, but I don't recall seeing either shed a tear. Not when they are sitting at the burial site, not when they hand the widow the flag from her husband's casket, nor when they give (or attempt to give) the wife the soldier's Purple Heart and another medal (perhaps the Bronze Star). I can't imagine that a wife or a mother could maintain their composure under such circumstances. This event in the life of these women is so horrible, shocking and overwhelming that they should have been shown weeping their eyes out and wailing.... but perhaps I am nitpicking here. I am grateful -- ok, maybe just relieved -- that the death of a soldier wasn't used inappropriately in this instance.
And I knew this woman (the widow) and those that write her part didn't and don't "get it" when she confronts the father (a retired career Army Officer) about how he could have kept his son from going back to Iraq... that he could just have easily convinced Captain Gallant to stay home with the ones that loved him. Note to whoever wrote that dialog: people in the military get orders. They go where they're told. Now, I don't watch "ER" enough so maybe I missed that Dr. Gallant had volunteered for another deployment?? But the real point is: there is nothing anyone can say to a soldier -- to a warrior -- that would convince him to not go when that is where he wants to be.... when that is what he feels compelled to do.
I do "get it". I don't pretend to fully understand it, but I accept it. It is what makes warriors so remarkable. They raise their hands, take the oath and say, "This we will defend."
Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2006. All rights reserved.


At 5/19/2006 7:05 AM , Blogger kbug said...

Nicely said, SSM. I wish that more people would "get it."

At 5/19/2006 7:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said...

Gallant asked to go back to Iraq, hence Nella is bitter (which she has the right to be). Gallant's father was a soldier and Gallant was trying to make his dad proud.

At 5/19/2006 10:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gallant wanted to go back to Iraq and be there for those soldiers who were injured. Again, Gary Sinise did a wonderful job on Wednesday night CSI:NY and had flashbacks to his time as a Marine during the Beirut barracks bombings in 1983.

At 5/19/2006 12:19 PM , Blogger Melinda said...

I don't "get it" either, but I respect it, I live with it and I go with it because the alternative isn't attractive at all.

It's hard sometimes to recognize that 'the mission comes first' is the real deal over and above anything you may have with the warrior. Most of the time, it's okay, but there are days when you harken that old country song, "Whiskey, if you were a woman." LOL

If the Army is my husband's mistress...or am *I* this other woman?!?! be it. He's a good man and I don't have to "get it" for it to make sense.

At 5/20/2006 6:08 PM , Blogger Heidi said...

I "get it" all too well. I wanted to comment about the wife who was very composed and not grieving. I was very composed when I had that knock at my door . . . I never expected to react that way. There were 15 days from the time my husband was killed and I got to see him for the first time. I cried hard for the first time . . . the reality of what had really happened to him . . . the shock of seeing my husband so lifeless. The funeral was 2 days later, I did not shed a tear at his funeral or burial but trust me the grief was there. I was just emotionally exhausted and drained. For over two weeks my life had be pure hell. The grief is still with me each and everyday. I guess everyone reacts in different ways. My emotions were so crazy but I was very strong around others. I had my weak moments and I still do . . . this is an event in my life that I will NEVER forget and I will NEVER forget the love that I had and still have for my husband.

I have watched ER from the beginning but when the Iraq story line started I turned it off. I was very curious so I checked in on Dr. Gallant from time to time . . . would there be a happy homecoming? How would he arrive home dead or alive? Would what he was doing be real or like what my husband had talked about? I was disgusted at the way Hollywood dealth with the notification process so very Hollywood and not real . . . thank goodness! I was scared for the funeral but they did okay. I did not like the soldier's father and his little speech. It was not the best it could have been but it sure could have been a lot worse, right?

Don't take my comments personally. I enjoy reading your blog and wanted to comment since I "get it".


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