There’s a movie coming out Friday. It’s called Thank You For Your Service.
When the trailer comes on, Sam doesn’t quite watch, but he hears. And he then says, “I did that. I rode shotgun in the truck and I looked for bombs. I was very good at my job.”
And without showing, without wanting to ask anymore questions, my heart breaks a little.
Not because of the movie trailer showing how difficult it is to transition from military to civilian, or the graphic nature of war, or a soldier losing someone in their unit…
But because I know Sam longs for war. I know, if he were able, if he could go back he would. In a heartbeat.
He feels as if he didn’t get to go out the way he wanted, he didn’t get to complete his service.
That hurts my heart. And, if you didn’t know, Sam’s choice to retire from the military was not his own–he was medically retired due to injuries from deployments, namely one in Afghanistan that caused him to be medivac’d from the country.
The movie, based on the book by David Finkel (with the same name) is an account of the time Finkel spent embedded with members of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Iraq. Finkel, a journalist, has a book that precedes Thank You For Your Service called The Good Soldiers (this second one, checks in on the members of the battalion who made it home).
What the movie will more than likely examine is the “coming home” process. How do we know what these soldiers are feeling? Will Hollywood portray it correctly, or will they embellish what can happen during this transition from military to civilian.
I hope that if you, or anyone you know chooses to see this movie they can understand the veteran experience a little bit better (but also probably get some Hollywood in there too).
PTSD is not always present with those who have served in the military. Not everyone who serves returns, develops, or deals with PTSD on a daily basis. I think this movie will show what happens during a transition, when soldiers are lost on a deployment, and returning to civilian life.
Readjustment is a challenge, and we must do better to help our veterans transition.
Will the Hoekstra’s see Thank You For Your Service? Maybe. Probably not opening night. Probably not in a few weeks. Sam has even made the comment that he would like me to see it (I’m not sure how I feel about going alone to a movie that I know will make me super emotional), and I think he wants me to see it so I can better understand the challenges that some veterans face.
So, if we don’t attend, and anyone wants to join me for this one, you know where to find me.
I’m forever thankful for Sam’s service, despite how it ended for him. I admire him for his bravery, his courage, and his willingness to serve…and despite what he’s gone through, I admire him even more for wanting to go back and serve.