Family Member Mourns Dead Soldier Killed in Afghanistan – Washington Post

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 SUFFERING, SOMETIMES BEST SHARED IN FILM

The Washington Post is running an article from yesterday concerning a letter filled with grief from a family member of a young soldier killed in Afghanistan.  The letter she wrote is encapsulated inside this article and is a somber read for anyone. The address is here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/14/AR2009071402894.html?nav=hcmodule .

As I read it I could not help but think of the name of the silent movie by Raoul Walsh called What Price Glory?.  Originally a silent movie filmed in 1926 it was remade in 1952 by James Cagney in the starring role of Captain Flagg and Dan Dailey as Sergeant Quirt.  On the surface, it is about the futility and the code of behavior of being a professional soldier.  It concerns U.S. Marines in combat on the front lines in France in 1918, World War I.  They are proud to be what they are. They know the limitations and dangers of being professional soldiers and accept every minute as a reprieve from death.  In the end, a dying marine looks at Flagg and asks him as he dies a horrible death from combat, "What price glory?"

I saw that film several times on television when I was a teenager.  I have never forgotten that line from the movie.  I have never been able to answer that question. Can it be answered?

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)

     

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