Over the last couple of weeks my husband and I have been watching Band of Brothers. It is a second world war series that my my brother-in-law lent it to us, saying he thought we would enjoy it; I was sceptical. War movies are not generally my favourite, and this one looked like it might even be black and white (the horror – I cannot watch such desaturated entertainment!). However I agreed to give it a try, and to my and my husband’s surprise I was hooked. Wow. What a powerful movie.
In my school years I detested history, and when I started home-education I was allowed to drop the subject, much to my relief. I appreciate my parents’ respect for my personal interests, and now I am older I find I am increasingly self-motivated to learn all I can. Watching Band of Brothers coincided with an Open University course I am doing, the current topic of which is war poetry, so the timing was particularly good for me. I soaked up the history of the war, as told through the eyes of the courageous men who fought in it.
Band of Brothers follows the story of the US paratrooper unit ‘Easy Company’, from their drop behind enemy lines on D-Day to their capture of the ‘Eagles Nest’ and the end of the war. Directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this is predictably an excellent series. I would warn those who watch it that the language is very excessive, and there is, unfortunately, one sex scene that we skipped. Being a war film it also has some pretty shocking violence, although this is not as bad as it could have been. Despite these aspects though, I thoroughly recommend the movie. It is a deeply moving true story of men who willingly volunteered their lives – even to the point of death – and gave everything they had to do what they believed was right. That is worth watching.
The last disc of the series has a commentary and other extras which are also very interesting to watch, including comments from several Easy Company veterans. Again, this section is moving as you see the men cry for their friends and recall horrors of battle that I cannot imagine having had to live through. But there was one line that stood out to me more than any other. At the end of ‘The Making Of’ section one of the actors who plays an Easy Company soldier makes this comment:
These guys lived hell for years, for the betterment of the world. Doing a movie like this is hopefully a small shred… a sliver… of a thank you. And a little piece of information that we can pass along to other people, and go, “Don’t forget. Don’t forget. It was really hard, and these guys did it so that you don’t have to.”
When I heard this, I was stuck to the core. Certainly after watching this movie I won’t forget what they did, and I do hold them in high esteem. I think there is not a person in the world who could watch and understand what Easy Company did and not regard them as heroes. And yet, they can’t hold a candle to Christ. What they did – mind-blowing as it was – is nothing compared to what Jesus has done.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly did go through hell – for the betterment of the world. He did it not just for His friends but also His enemies. He took upon himself the sins of the entire world, even though the world scorned Him. He died in the ultimate battle for the salvation of our souls. And glory to God, He rose again and conquered!
Let us share this good news with the people in our lives, and tell them of the greatest hero who ever lived – and lives still today!
And let us not forget. Don’t forget. It was really hard, and Jesus did it so that you don’t have to.