A True Story
Veterans Day always reminds me to be thankful that two of my brothers and I served in the US Army and returned safely. My older brother went to Vietnam. At the time, they wouldn't send two members from the same family to a combat zone, so I was sent to an armored batallion in Germany. Funny thing was that he joined and I was drafted. My younger brother went to Okinawa.
I finished my two-year commitment and returned home to work in my father’s film production company as a cinematographer. One of my first projects included an overseas assignment to produce a film about Venture for Victory. This organization assembles basketball teams made up of Christian players. They tour various parts of the world as a ministry. The team we were following went to Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and…Vietnam.
I couldn’t believe it!
Here I had avoided that dangerous place during my military service and now I’d be going there as a civilian. I didn’t even have a weapon to defend myself. All I held in my hands was a harmless 16MM camera. Lotta good that’s gonna to do you, my military brain told me.
Some of those old army training fears came flooding back, especially when US forces lobbed artillery shells over our heads in the night, in Dalat, or the day my helicopter left me all alone, in the middle of the wrong rice patty, one sweltering afternoon. I’m not even going to admit what I did when a gust of wind slammed the door shut, with a bang, in the missionary guesthouse where I was staying. Just picture me under my bed.
On one occasion it felt as if someone might be watching me while we filmed near a remote village. I zoomed the lens all the way in, focused on infinity, looked through the eyepiece, and quickly spun the camera around toward where I felt the stare. My heart pounded when a pair of field glasses quickly ducked down into the tall grass.
So, I honor all those men and women who have served our country in the past, especially those who gave their lives.