Due to the circumstances of life and death, I am currently living with my father. We’ve gotten ourselves a little routine going, and part of it includes watching old movies together at night. Thanks to Amazon Prime, we have a veritable plethora of old films to choose from. Our favorites are westerns and war movies from the 1940’s and 50’s. I say they are “our” favorites because although they were his favorites first, they are now becoming some of my favorites, too.
We were a military family. My dad served over twenty years in the U.S. Navy so I know a little about military life. But military life as a military kid in peaceful times is not at all the same as military life in a unit during combat.
I have a new appreciation for actors like John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum–such grown men! They were gallant, chivalrous, tough, strong and loyal, and if you watch enough of their films a few basic themes will quickly make themselves evident.
Here are my top 10 favorites:
Truth #1: You did what you were told even if the commanding officer was wrong.
Truth #2: You held your tongue out of respect for the office, and you spoke only when you had permission to speak.
Truth #3: You gave 100% all of the time even if those around you did not.
Truth #4: You did what you could for the best outcome, yet realized you are not responsible for the outcome.
Truth #5: You dug the foxhole together and you were in the foxhole together.
Truth #6:You took time to laugh. (And smoke alot of cigarettes!)
Truth #7: You kept your word.
Truth #8: When you fell down, you got back up. When someone else fell down, you helped them back up.
Truth #9: You cared for those you served with even at the expense of your own life.
Truth #10: You never gave up.
My dad was an example of many of these truths. I am thankful for his influence in my life, for the things he has taught me and for our time together. Being the strong, silent type himself, I doubt he would ever sit me down and tell me these things over his cup of coffee and my Diet Coke. But in nightly choosing movies that have resonated with the traits he has valued in his lifetime, he is, in essence doing that very thing–for which I am grateful and humbled.
My dad and I while stationed in Hawaii in the early 1970’s.