So how do we explain how the simple story of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, played by Kevin Bacon, escorting the remains of a 19 year old Marine private, Chance Phelps from Iraq to Wyoming became HBO’s most watched original movie in five years — drawing two million viewers — despite a typically slow Saturday night airing?
An HBO spokesman estimates that an additional 5.5 million have watched, not including those who recorded it and watched later. To say it was wildly popular would not be an overstatement.
It is a touching show that is 100% reality with no cynicism. It does not glorify or denigrate the war. It merely treats with respect a very touching event.
This movie teaches us enormous respect for the military uniform. It teaches us to love and honor those young men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. And it shows the incredible gift that comes back to us when we serve others without recompense. The way Kevin Bacon’s character showed such honor and the enormous respect showed by ordinary Americans for his service and the dead soldier he was escorting was deeply touching and renewed faith in humanity.
We can all take lessons from this. Hug your family, especially your kids. Remember those great Americans who gave their lives at a young age in all wars — not just the last one. We should honor and respect every one of them. And Hollywood should take note of what people truly care about.