This last Sunday evening I watched a program on our Chicago PBS station, Channel 11. WTTW. Our "Window To The World". I had seen advertisements for this particular program earlier on and I wanted to watch it because Daniel Radcliffe, of "Harry Potter" fame, was to play the lead character, "My Boy Jack".
I wanted to watch it because of him. I wanted to see him 'do' something other than Harry Potter - I wanted to see just how good he is - or isn't.
I wish everyone could see it because of the story.
John "Jack" Kipling died in his first action, attacking a German machine gun, the day after his Eighteenth Birthday. The Battle of Loos. In 1915.
The battle scenes in the movie were stark. Real. An accurate image of the living hell that was trench warfare in WWI.
But it's the image of the death of Jack Kipling that I see over and over in my mind. And it's accurate. A Private from Jack's Irish Guard's Platoon came to the family home some months after Jack was killed and told them how he died. He knew. He was there. His Lieutenant was killed right in front of him and he could do nothing to help. And he felt guilty.
I have never seen anything that brought home the stupidity of warfare - the waste of warfare - the ugliness of warfare - quite like this story has. For me.
I have been to war. I have seen people die. Some by my hand. I have never been able to explain how it felt - how I feel about it.
In this movie, I have seen my feelings laid bare.
The agony of those left behind - the understanding that there is no glory in death and dying - that it's a tragedy visited on a family that will echo through the generations that follow - that it is all so senseless. It's all there.
See it. Find a way to see it. Feel me.