May 30 in the year 2016 is being celebrated as Memorial Day. On this day in America, we honor and remember all who gave their lives for their country. In the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan we are reminded of why we have freedom in America with the realistic warfare that was brilliantly portrayed.
When the movie opens we are introduced to an elderly World War II veteran and his family. Upon reaching a grave at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France, he collapses. The movie flashes back to June 6, 1944 where American soldier are preparing to land on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy Invasion. Captain John Miller is a ranger who gives the men who serve under him final orders before they reach the beach. Once at the beach the battle begins. In what many consider to be some of the most realistic cinematic warfare, many soldiers are lost including three brothers by the last name of Ryan. When this news reaches Washington D.C., it is learned that their is one brother left. General George Marshall demands the return of Private James Ryan, a paratrooper in France. However, they are unable to locate him with orders being given to Captain Miller to retrieve him. Along the way, Captain Miller loses two of his men Private Carpazo and medic Irwin Wade. Eventually, they are able to reach Private Ryan and inform him of the death of his brothers. When James Ryan learns of the death of his brothers he is reluctant to return home out of guilt for the men who he serves along side. This upsets the men under Captain Miller because they lost two men who were looking for him. However, there is not much time to convince Ryan because there is a German Panzer Division on the way to where they are. When the Germans arrive a battle ensues killing all except one of Miller’s men. When Captain Miller is mortally wounded he tells Private Ryan to “earn this”. As Miller dies we are brought back to the elderly veteran and his family. We learn that James Ryan survived the war and returned to France to honor those who were unable to live a life that he had. He asks his wife to come over and confirm that he is a good man. His wife does so at Captain Miller’s grave confirming he is worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and the other men. The film closes with the American flag waving as the credits role.
Saving Private Ryan is a shocking reminder as to why American’s are able to have the freedom we have today. The movie shows us warfare that soldiers suffered for the country we live in today. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day, but don’t forget why we have it.