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Memorial Day (2012)
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Some war violence
Jonathan Bennett, James Cromwell, John Cromwell, Jackson Bond
When SSgt. Kyle Vogel leaves a handwritten letter on the seat of his car, grabs a pistol and steps into a Minnesota forest, we wonder who he is and what he’s about to do. Flash back a few months as Vogel lies wounded in a hospital near Anbar Province, Iraq. The night before he’s due to return to combat, his doctor, Lt. Kelly Tripp, presses him on why he’s so obsessed with collecting battle souvenirs. Kyle proceeds to tell her what happened on Memorial Day, 1993, when, as a 13-year old boy, he discovered his Grandpa Bud’s WWII footlocker. Though reluctant to talk about the war, Bud, who served with the 82nd Airborne, strikes a deal with Kyle: “Pick any three objects, and I’ll tell you the story behind each one.” As we see Bud’s WWII tales from Europe, we also see how Kyle’s experiences in Iraq have paralleled them—and how that day on the porch will affect how he ultimately deals with the losses, regrets and moral dilemmas that unite all soldiers across wars and generations.
Memorial Day (2012) | Review
Tell Your Story
Bud (John Cromwell) is suffering from memory loss, but his discovered war chest, holding mementos of his time in World War II, opens up dialogue with his thirteen-year-old grandson. His grandson grows up to be Jonathan Bennett's Sergeant, Kyle Vogel, who recounts the story of his grandfather's locker and the stories that he shared. Now, Vogel has decisions to make of his own, as he recounts the story to Lt. Kelly Tripp (Emily Fradenburgh).
In an interesting spin, Cromwell's own son (James Cromwell) plays Bud in World War II, as we see the episodes of Bud's life interspersed with the episodes of the modern war played out in Kyle's. Bud's episodes are harsh and colorless, Kyle's are tan, beige, and bright, and their time shared together in the 1993 Memorial Day storytelling is soft, and bright. It's a motif that conveys in itself the beauty of their stories, and the way that they might be different but are still interconnected.
We all make choices, and we have to live with them. Bud attempts to teach Kyle in his own way to share their story, and to make the stories count for something. The difference between the two men, one at thirteen and one as an older man, comes together in the middle, where one learns to ask and then listen, and the other learns to listen and then share. Our stories matter, and it matters to those who hear them.
The truth is that we're part of a bigger story, God's story, and we're called to share it with others. Holding it back, as Bud figures it out, would be a crime, and so many people want to hear it. Are you ready to share your story—even sing it?
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