Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book review: Lone Survivor

Warning:  this is the longest post I've written yet, but that's how much this book has affected me.  

When I first saw the previews for the movie Lone Survivor I knew I wouldn't be able to stand watching a story like that. For someone who needs a tissue after even slightly touching commercials, I knew this movie would reduce me to someone I wouldn't be proud of no matter who I went to see it with. 

But just like stories of the Holocaust, I also felt that I owed it to them to know their story. So I got online to the library to reserve said title. It had a waiting list so I added my name and was looking forward to the email that would announce that I was next in line to read it. 

I got it Tuesday and I knew from the beginning this one would be tough to put down. Well it's a good thing the kids had a snow day Friday because I read for about four straight hours which never happens around here.   I could not put it down. The house could've been burning down and I would have had my nose buried, and I finished it!

It's so hard to know where to start when writing about a story like theirs.  First of all, I was impressed with his upbringing and family life. He seemed like a great kid with great parents, etc., etc.  The training to become a SEAL took up almost the first half of the book but I totally see why. What they go through and the number of guys that drop out, is amazing. 

But then you get to the real meat of the story. I don't even know how they do it. Not just SEALs, but any of our military service people.  Being in a different country that's about as opposite as ours, and being around people that have such a (misplaced) hatred for us would be unnerving to say the least. Then they learn about a very important mission coming up that keeps getting delayed...get ready, no wait...get ready, no wait.  That alone takes a lot of fortitude in my book!  

The mission itself is so high pressure and the terrain they have to operate in is so difficult, but these men are driven to succeed no matter what - no matter what - and all the while looking out for their brother servicemen. 

I can't even write about the details of the mission and what happened and hope to do it any kind of justice.  The most important things I took from their story are strength, commitment, honor, and the Christian values that the branches of the armed forces are based on. 

The amount of strength these men have - both physical and mental - is astonishing. The training they go through that tests both of those strengths on a constant basis at first seems almost inhuman but then you realize that it has to be done that way. I know (at least I hope I remember for a very long time) that every time I want to complain about the mundane tasks of my life that I very often complain about, that I will be humbled. 

Their commitment to the branch of the military that they're in is impressive; however, their commitment to each other in life and death situations is beyond admirable.  Further words escape me...

They showed supreme honor in precarious situations because they have values and they respect human life - unlike the very enemies they were sent after.

Their Christian values were of utmost importance in the decisions they made and I was continually surprised and yet disappointed at the same time as I agree with all the sentiments of the author regarding the power of certain government officials and the power of the American media.

I think this should be mandatory reading for anyone above the age of, maybe, 15, and my teens will definitely be reading it.  I think it's important for our young people to realize what goes on outside of their usually very comfortable surroundings and what other people do to keep them comfortable.

I would want the author to know how much they are all appreciated - it seems like no words would be enough to express that.  I would want him to know that even though it may not seem like it, I think there are an awful lot of Americans that have the very same values that they do and try their hardest every day to live their lives according to those values. 

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