One of my favorite moments in movie history is the end of Saving Private Ryan, when Tom Hanks looks to Matt Damon amid all the destruction and death that was World War II and he tells him to "Earn this."
I think about that often. I try to apply it to my life on a daily basis, and I don't know if it came across, but I tried to share that sentiment in I Hate You Jimmy. Around this time of the year especially, when the memory of D-Day is invoked, I can't help but feel a bit guilty. It's a weird guilt... not one that I did something wrong, but one that I am not doing enough. That I am not earning this opportunity that I have.
4 years ago, On June 5, I quit my job to pursue my passion of writing, storytelling, and making videos. It wasn't lost on me that I quit the day before D-Day (only because June 6 was a Saturday). In the melodramatic monologue that was running through my head, I felt as though I was braving into unchartered territory, just like the men of D-Day, and was inspired by their greatness and the opportunity that was given to me by their actions.
And maybe that's where the guilt comes from. I may be wrong, but I can never imagine a greater feat. I don't know if there will ever be a greater cause, a greater evil to defeat with so much at stake, as there was during World War II. Meanwhile, today, we got problems like a low cell phone battery or traffic on the way to a dinner reservation.
Not discounting the struggle. Believe me, I know about struggle. I'm just saying, when I catch myself struggling with things that aren't that important... like book sales being down or my videos not getting views... I imagine looking into the eyes of a 17 year old kid that's about to parachute into the bullet ridden sky of Nazi Germany, and ask myself what he would say if he heard my complaints?
When I hear the song in this video, it transports me to a different time. And I try to wonder what it was actually like. And when I saw these colorized photos online, I wanted to try something new. I hope it gives a bit of perspective of the experience those men had only 75 years ago.
Truth is, I think a lot of these pictures where from dress rehearsal of D-Day: Operation Tiger. For a little more perspective, 749 American soldiers died during this. 749. During practice. By comparison, 31 soldiers died in Iraq/Afghanistan in all of 2018. I believe this to be true of the picture at the end- that it was taken during training. It the one picture that remains in black and white, as a testament to the fact that no color picture, or video, can ever truly replicate what the Greatest Generation did.
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