Friday, May 06, 2005

Band of Brothers

I am a HUGE Band of Brothers fan. For those of you who do not know, Band of Brothers is an HBO series (10 episodes) that walks through the events of World War II with Easy Company, 2 division of the 506 PIR of the 101st (or something like that). If that went over your head, these guys were pretty much just a group of soldiers who Parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, took part in the liberation of Holland, held Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge, and took Hitler's residence in the Alps. So they were a group of elite soldiers who saw a lot of fighting in the war.

The first thing that I noticed when I began to watch these movies, is how realistic they are. The combat is very realistic, and the man in me is loving every minute of it. Then I began to notice that I was becoming very attached to these soldiers, I hated the episodes where my heroes get wounded and I was devastated when they got the Big One.
Now I don't want to sound like a huge fan of war and death, but these guys have captivated my interest. What does it take to be able to go through what they went through? How does a man watch his friends get blown up and still be able to have the want to live?
I think that the beauty of these movies is that fact that the emphasis is not on the fighting, that's just there because it is a war film. The emphasis is on the relationships that these men have developed with each other. These guys even busted out of hospitals all throughout the war to make sure that their friends wouldn't be fighting the enemy without their help. There was such a tight camaraderie among the men that it seemed they would go through Hell for each other.
Last night, I was watching the NBA, and Stephen Jackson of the Pacers (I'm not dogging the Pacers) was being questioned about an argument he had with one of the assistant coaches. He was upset that people were questioning his loyalty to his team, and he was upset that people were judging him. Then he referred to the infamous night in Detroit when he ran in the stands and started fighting the fans, to help Ron Artest. Not to criticize any of the actions that happened that night, but that's not going war, that's a riot.
A few years ago the same thing happened with the Detroit Tigers. They were playing a game against the White Sox and during the course of the game there was two bench clearing brawls. It seemed that like half of the Tigers were suspended, but the reactions were not what I thought they would be. The players were not upset with the suspensions, I think that they realized that there was no way around those. But they were upset at the players who didn't come out and fight with them. Instead of nasty comments about the commissioner, they were making comments about the players who were still on the bench.
Why is it that players will risk large amounts of money for their teammates (Stephen Jackson said he lost $2 million)? Why did the soldiers in WWII leave the hospital to go back into combat and risk their lives? And why do I feel excited when I see and hear stories about these things?
The answer to these questions, I believe, is that we as humans are meant to be in a community. We need to know that when I go through life, I am not alone. People will sacrifice a whole lot of things to be a part of something. When you look a people who are depressed and people who take their lives, isolation seems to be a big part of the reason; not physical isolation, but mental and spiritual isolation. It seems we are at our lowest when we are alone.
I think that's why I like Band of Brothers, not for the cool war actions shots, but because it shows man at his finest.