“Is That You, John Wayne?” I bet a lot of you could name the movie that quote is from. That’s because Hollywood has always had this deep fascination with the military. This goes all the way back to black and white televisions. (For most of you, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. Yes, you know you’re old when you watched black-and-white television.) Does the fascination with the military come from a desire to show pride in our military through movies, or is just because Americans as a whole like to watch them? Since 2001, the number of military movies made has increased. Perhaps this has something to do with the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Do They Show Too Much?
I myself will sometimes avoid movies regarding the military. The same goes for playing military video games like Call of Duty. Why watch or play it when you live it? But there are some that I do like. My top three favorites are:
- Saving Private Ryan
- Full Metal Jacket
- Zero Dark Thirty
But it is my honest opinion that movies show way too much about how the military works. What happened to OPSEC? Take the Seals for example. So many movies are based on them, their training and their missions. Sure, the filmmakers changed the names on the uniform, but is anything really a secret anymore? If a terrorist watches one movie he or she may learn something they may not have known that could eventually put somebody in danger. Isn’t that what OPSEC is all about? I will say this: there is one Army unit you do not see constantly plastered all over the movie screens! Mine!
Actors and the Military
I do think it is great that so many actors and actresses take time to visit military bases overseas. The same goes for singers, especially country music singers, who seem to spend a lot of time visiting service members. I have been here at Walter Reed and the Wounded Warrior Building for over a year now, and have read about and seen many different entertainers come here and visit people. They are here for hours, performing and signing autographs. I know every time I have been deployed, there was an opportunity to see a concert. One country singer who stands out the most to me and seems to be constantly overseas is Toby Keith. He has written many songs about the military. You have no idea what it means to myself and to all of the service members to be able to take a moment out of harm’s way and feel like we are home through music. We are all on the same team. In this way, I guess Hollywood and the music industry play a role in the military’s morale, just like we play a role in Hollywood.
We Should All Say Thank You
To all the singers, actors, actresses, comedians, and other entertainers who have taken the time to give concerts or make military movies: thank you for traveling to military installations in the United States and overseas and for being away from your family to be with us. Like we represent you out here, you represent us in the movies and in the songs you sing.