These films that recall the meaning of service and sacrifice.
What kind of war movies best capture the day set aside in remembrance of the honored willing to “bear any burden, pay any price,” our nation earns the liberty it enjoys. dead? Memorial Day remembers those who have died whiles serving in the armed forces of the United States—in war or peace. As long as our nation produces these men and women That is the eternal meaning of this day.
When we walk out of theater profoundly moved by the sacrifice of our soldiers—those are movies that emote that sentiment most.
I have done list before of the top war films that make you cry.But this is a “memorial day” list so let’s single out those history-based military movies that exclusively highlight the loss of Americans in harm’s way.
#6. The Alamo (1960) Alright, I acknowledged this one is a bit of cheat. The two-hundred or so souls fighting for an independent Texas didn’t wear a uniform from Uncle Sam. For almost two weeks they held the enemy at bay before they were cut down to the man. In the film, it is hard not shed a tear as John Wayne et al fight to the last. There is also the 2004 remake or the classic Disney bio-pic (1955) with Davy Crockett meeting his end at the Alamo.
#5. Gettysburg (1993) Adapted from the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, this film has a enough history for a history lesson on one of the climatic battles of the Civil Wars. “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” Lincoln declared in his Gettysburg address, “but it can never forget what they did here.” The terrible losses of both sides are depicted in the movie including the death of Major General John F. Reynolds, “the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Gettysburg and one of the most senior officers to die in the Civil War.” He was wrong on the first point, but spot on with the second.
#4. The Purple Heart (1944) After the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, Americans were thrilled when the Army Air forces struck back with a bombing raid on Tokyo. The story was told in the film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. But the harrowing story of a downed-bomber crew that is captured and executed after show trial will choke-up the toughest tough guy—particularly gripping speech at the end by the doomed American pilot.
#3. A Bridge Too Far (1977) For heart-stopping sadness few World War II films top the tearful end of Saving Private Ryan (1998). That was fictional account of the Normandy invasion. A more historical take was the big-budget film The Longest Day (1962). But for a taste of tragic and wasted loss of life few World War II battles were botched more the muddleheaded airborne assault called Market Garden. The allies suffered over 17,000 casualties.
#2. We Were Soldiers (2002) In 1965, American airmobile forces charged into the Ia Drang Valley and one of the most violent and bloody battles of the war. It is toss-up which is more moving—the heartbreak of delivering the telegrams notifying the next of kin of soldiers' deaths in combat or the haunting song at the end sung by the West Point Glee Club.
#1. Fort Bliss (2014) This is a riveting underrated film about a young women struggling to be a good soldier and strong mom. In the course of the film, one of her sergeants commits suicide, a problem that is all too common among American veterans.
For those of you who are moved and want to give back, you can support TAPS—The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors “offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our armed forces.” It’s a great volunteer organization.