by Lawrence Knorr
CAMP HILL, PA — As the film ended, after nearly 2 1/2 hours, the credits ran and no one stood. No one spoke. No one reached for their phone. As the last credit rolled, all quietly stood — a room of over 300 movie patrons who were total strangers to one another. Quietly and politely, as if at a solemn funeral, each exited their row and walked to the door. Some spoke only in hushed tones as we emptied out. To say “American Sniper” had an impact on the audience would be an understatement. It was the most powerful reaction to a film I have ever witnessed.
Why this reaction? Since there were no exchanges with the patrons, I can only imagine they were thinking similarly to me. Eastwood’s movie had struck an inner chord of human nature — a deep sense of loss coupled with the sincere respect for Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal played by Bradley Cooper. But, that’s not the only thing. In fact, the overriding realization is the cost of war — whether it is the mental anguish a soldier faces, or the horrors the populace in a war zone encounters, or the early deaths of so many on both sides, or the toll on the families back home — during and after the conflict.
This was not a film that glorified war — or the SEALs — or our country’s invasion of Iraq. It was not NRA propaganda or a recruiting tool for sniper training. Those that are trying to make more out of it than an honest appraisal of the human price paid in such conflicts are completely off base.
If nothing else, regardless of our beliefs and all of the disagreements we have among us as Americans, we must rally behind our veterans — especially those that served in battle zones, and especially those that carry the scars, whether physical or mental. These men and women served our country. Whether or not you are proud of the results or agreed with the circumstances, I urge you to please support them.
If you haven’t seen the film and are unsure about how you feel about our veterans, the $9.50 per ticket to see “American Sniper” is worth every penny.