I’m always baffled when Americans speak out against our American way of life. Ours is a country built on freedom, faith, spirit and sacrifice. It’s the greatest country in the world!
So I was more than shocked to hear my own wife and 10-year-old son reject it all.
“We are not gonna watch war movies all Memorial Day weekend,” they told me.
That’s right, the Turner Classic Movies network is doing a 72-hour classic war movie marathon this weekend to celebrate and honor those who fought to protect our way of life, and I want to see it. But my family wants nothing to do with it.
They said things like “No!” and “Are you kidding me?”
Then it got real -- “Those movies are lame,” my wife said.
My kid added, “They’re ancient.”
“Of course you know,” I said, “this means war.”
How can my wife criticize what I watch?
“Lame?” I asked her. “Let’s take a look at what you watch -- your reality TV and those housewives. Half the time I don’t even know what they’re screaming. Between the yelling over each other, the bleeps on top of all the profanity and the lack of any sort of point to the program, you’d get more meaning out of a preschool production of interpretive dance.”
Then I turned my attention to my son. “And you call my movies ancient? Having fun is gonna be an ancient activity for you if you don’t start taking my side from now on.”
I was winning nicely. But I had to bring it home.
“Now, if you look at a war classic like ‘The Great Escape,’ you’ll benefit from all the major American ideals that film presents. You’ve got the escape, which represents hope. You’ve got all those men who gave their lives so others could get out, which represents sacrifice.
“The James Garner character risked his life to help the blind Donald Pleasance, showing goodwill toward man. Steve McQueen never said die, showing perseverance and spirit. And then there was Charles Bronson and his claustrophobia -- he dug that tunnel anyway. That’s American courage in the face of true adversity.”
My wife interrupted my monologue -- I had more. “The true story wasn’t even about Americans,” she said. “It was about the British.”
“Who told you that?” I asked.
“You did,” she said. “Last Memorial Day after you watched the whole movie, and then all the commentary, and then all those special features.”
“Well, forget real life,” I snapped back. “We’re talking about the movie here. And the movie is American for sure.”
My wife’s rebuttal: “Well, I’m sure not watching war films all weekend.”
Which meant I wasn’t either. So there’d be no “Dirty Dozen,’ no “Steel Helmet,” no “Sergeant York” or “Kelly’s Heroes.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what else is for sure,” I said to my wife. “There will be no reality TV either. None. In fact, for Memorial Day weekend, we’re going outside.”
In a slight change of events, my wife and son happily agreed with my plans.
“But,” I said, “we’re gonna do something to celebrate and honor American heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty. That’s what Memorial Day is all about. So we’re going to a mortuary.”
“Ah, Dad,” my son griped. “Last year you brought us there and said there’d be an air squadron fly-by, and the only thing going on was some guy’s funeral.”
My wife didn’t even have to speak.
“Alright then,” I said. “We’re going to the pool.”
“Yay,” my son said. “And when we get back, we can watch the Disney Channel.”