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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 9 months ago

Saving Private Ryan

In all the history of the world, World War II was the most extensive and expensive war ever. Throughout this brief yet frightening time, one glimmer of hope for those suffering in Europe, and those desperate for good news elsewhere was the storming of the beaches at Normandy. Through the decades since WWII, this invasion has been for many the breakthrough which was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.

Saving Private Ryan is possibly the greatest movie ever to depict a war scene accurately. There are few Americans who have yet to see this breathtaking movie, and for good reason. It has been nationally broadcast on TV numerous times, won 5 Academy Awards, and has more importantly won the hearts of thousands of veterans as an accurate version of what happened that historic June day. When I first saw the landing at Normandy, it had me sitting in my chair not able to move. Every man who was shot, and not just shot, but brutally killed was on your mind that day, as you saw what was really happened. Being an American meant something different after you saw this; it meant you only here because of everyone who died there. Your sense of patriotism would have definitely been stirred as you sat through just the first half hour or so.


The movie though, as the title foretells, is not just about the landing at Normandy or the death that occurred there. This is a much more personal story that takes you on a journey through France looking for Private James Francis Ryan. Ryan had unknowingly lost his three brothers in the war and is sought after to be brought back to his mother. General George C. Marshall gives the go ahead for the mission, recalling a similar situation during the Civil War in which Abraham Lincoln writes a letter to a woman who had lost all five of her sons in battle. Here though there is some hope in getting him home alive. A group of soldiers who survived the D-Day landing are sent to look for Ryan, and to bring him back safely. The group, led by Captain John Miller, is introduced to us when they first plunge out of the boats and are thrust onto the beach. I saw that these men while banded together and all fighting for the same cause, all didn’t believe that they were doing was right. However, they were commanded to do a mission, and they would complete their objective no matter what happened. Their braveness, willingness, and obedience can teach us all to be more cooperative with each other.


With the first trouble they come into, one of the soldiers dies trying to save a family from their crumbling home only to be shot dead in the rainy street. Later, when in a field, they come across a small unit of Germans, who they eventually beat, however lose their medic. It’s ironic that the one who treats them for medical needs is the one who dies without any medical personnel. As they are searching one day through the endless dog tag pile, they are accidentally demoralizing the units of soldiers passing them by. How it must have felt for those men to have to see how many other men have died I’ll never know. The Captain then gets up and starts shouting out, ‘Private James Francis Ryan!’ hoping somebody will know him. As luck would have it, one man remembers someone else knowing him. He calls over the now deaf soldier and writes it all down for him. They have found out where he is and are immediately on their way.


They reach finally reach the small town where Ryan is located and he is unwilling to leave is friends and fellow soldiers. The group now is absolutely furious and is ready to just leave him there. Captain Miller though, persuades them all to stay and fight off any forces they come across. The day of the big battle, they are forced to fight with some make-shift bombs and few amounts of ammunition. This final battle is one Private Ryan will never forget, when the Captain dies, his last words were, “James, earn this... earn it.” When he heard these words he just stood back and we are taken to the present day where we see him realize that all those men had come to save him. As he stands at the grave of Captain Miller, he asks his wife if he had lived worthy life, on that lived up to the sacrifice of all the men that died that day for him. This last scene of the movie is most touching when it fades to the American flag, leaving you with the impression you had just saw the story of a man who is here because of true sacrifice.


In wrapping up, I would just like to point out that although some parts may be gruesome; just remember that this really happened, and that they all died for you to live free.

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