Taking Chance

Sometimes, forgetting to buy something to read on a flight can be a good thing! Here's my example.

Since I forgot to buy a Sports Illustrated, People or USA Today to read on my flight heading off to my recent vacation, I picked up the airline's magazine in the pouch on the back of the seat in front of me.

In it, I noticed an article about Kevin Bacon. I honestly think Bacon is one of the best actors of our time, so I started to read.

The article was all about a film Bacon was in for HBO called "Taking Chance." Here's the story behind the story.

Marine LTCOL Michael Strobl volunteered to be an escort for the body of PFC Chance Phelps, a young Marine who had been killed in the war in Iraq. He went with Phelps' remains every step of the way from Delaware where they were taken care of by the military, until they were given to the mortician where Phelps was to be buried in Wyoming. And during that time, he kept a journal. Keeping careful track of people's random acts of kindness and respect when they found out what LTCOL Strobl was doing. The journal was the basis for this movie.

It struck me because I had no idea the military did this for it's fallen members. Strobl took it to a level that he actually stayed with the body when it was kept in a warehouse during a layover enroute to it's final destination.

I do have an idea of the respect for fallen heroes that the general public shows. Even if they disagree with the war, they show it for the people who've fought in it.

My cousin who served in Iraq tells the story of someone anonymously paying his bill at a restaurant when they found out of his service. And you can see it in something as simple as the loudest round of applause for the veterans when they march past in the parade.

In his journal and then the movie, Strobl talks about members of the airline crew stopping their work and pausing for a moment of silence when the body went past, a free upgrade to first class on the flight when the person setting up his ticket found out what he was doing, a pilot telling him he knows the name of every KIA (killed in action) he's ever flown and the gift of a Crucifix from a flight attendant, among other things.

And the movie brings it all to life marvelously! Bacon is perfect. You'd believe he really was a member of the military the way he carries himself. And on the two occasions his character does break, Bacon down is pitch perfect. If you have a heart, you break down with him.

If you have HBO, check out the movie! You know those movie channels always replay stuff a lot, so I'm sure it will be on again. Or check it out "on demand" or rent the DVD when it comes to your store. "Taking Chance" is an amazing, heartfelt story and a marvelous film.

J

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