24 May 2012

Operation Footlocker

A recurring theme on the Red Bull Rising blog is encouragement for citizen-soldiers, friends, and families to document and share their stories of deployment. Too few of our fellow citizens—including those we have elected to office—have directly experienced the sacrifices of service and war. Rather than being a nation at war, the saying goes, we are a nation at Wal-mart. We have left the fighting to our soldiers. Attention must be paid.

The movie "Memorial Day," available on DVD and Blu-ray starting May 29, tells the story of a 13-year-old Minnesota boy who challenges his veteran grandfather to tell the stories contained in an old footlocker.

According to "Memorial Day" press materials released this week, the film was inspired by the experience co-executive producer Jeff Traxler, a veteran and historical reenactor. Traxler once discovered a military footlocker in an abandoned house, which caused him to contemplate the stories inside that must have been locked away for years—and would never be told. From the same document:
"Talking about the war can be an emotional journey filled with memories that are both joyful and difficult," said Tara Staver, a neuropsychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of active-duty soldiers. "But the value of sharing our stories—our experiences—not only for veterans, but for us all, creates a meaningful connection with others and allows us to live in the present while understanding how to learn from and honor the past."
Coincidentally, I've written about packing my own footlocker. After I retired, Household-6 told me I needed to reduce my 20-years of Army baggage down to a more manageable size.

Here's a small challenge for this Memorial Day weekend: Find your footlockers. Open them up. Take one object and 15 minutes. And tell your story.

For past Red Bull Rising blog-posts regarding ways to document and share stories, click here, here, and here.

For some other ways to remember citizen-soldiers, click here.

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