A Merry Christmas to Those Who Protect Us

A film clip from Battleground (1949), a rousing tribute to the heroic stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, which helped turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge.  We should always be mindful of the men and women in our military who are far from their families today,  destined to celebrate Christmas often in dangerous situations.  May God bless them and keep them, and may we always remember the sacrifices they make for us.

Published in: on December 20, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (8)  
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  1. I remember this scene well… “Was this trip necessary…” Great movie from that day. Whitmore (having served in the USMC in the Panama Canal Zone during WWII) did a great job playing the “gramps” of the squad…and I’m not going to get upset he supported our current president because he did wonderful live “one-man shows”.

    • Another great scene in the film is where Van Johnson, portraying a private in the 101st, is fleeing from a fire fight. One of the replacements in his squad asks him what they should do. Van Johnson would very much like to continue running, but he does not want to appear a coward in the eyes of this “kid” and leads him in a successful flanking attack.

      • Indeed! I also recall the “muffled” sound stage cracks of the Garand going off in that scene!

  2. You know that I love this movie, but there are many wars and many fronts, and it is somewhere else that I learned that to die for one’s country and for one’s laws could be a dreadful reality. What follows is the eighth of nine parts of one dreadful documentary called “Funerali Di Stato”, “State Funerals”, telling the story of our war against our own cancer, the Mafia, from the seventies to the nineties, through the dreadful and unbroken series of state funerals given to the many brave men and women butchered by the mafia. This part is the climax of the story: the murder and the funeral of the great judge Giovkuseppe Falcone, the man who had broken the wall of omerta – mafia code of silence – and got the first mafiosi to turn state’s evidence. Falcone was blown up by the incredible use of a thousand kilos of explosive – a level of violence nobody had imagined before. The state funerals offered to Falcone were made memorable by the furious omily of Cardinal Pappalardo – the first church leader in Palermo to be against the Mafia with no ifs or buts, and withal a Sicilian of the Sicilians. It made a huge impression to hear the mafia and its accomplices denounced from the pulpit. But the climax of the day was the heartbroken impromptu speech of the beautiful young widow of one of the murdered escort agents: “Lord, bring back peace to this city that you have made a nest of blood… too much blood… and give us back to justice and peace and love. And you [she meant the murderers], I forgive you, but you have got to go down on your knees!” Nobody who ever saw that will forget it. But even more terrible, to those who know, is the interview that ends the video clip, for it is with Falcone’s colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino who was to suffer the same fate within a few days. And yet the blood of these heroes, that seemed so often to have been shed in vain, was in fact the beginning of victory, and the man who ordered their murders, Toto Riina, has been thrown into jail for life without parole.

    • Very powerful indeed Fabio.

  3. When I was writing that, I was drooping with sleep, and – apart from the stylistic lunacy of having “dreadful” three times in four lines or so – I must have fallen asleep while trying to correct an error, with hilarious results. The name of Judge Falcone is Giovanni; I had originally entered it as Giuseppe, quite wrongly.

    I also think that one thing I should have underlined, to show what a turning point this tremendous state funeral was, was the immense crowd standing in the rain, applauding the biers of Judge Falcone and his escort and wife as though they were conquering heroes, reaching out to touch them as if they somehow carried the magic of justice and patriotism and peace, and howling for the blood of their murderers. That was a scene barely imaginable only a few years before. It used to be commonsense that the average Sicilian accepted, or even liked, things as they were; but the truth is that, as soon as the impression began to arise that things could be turned around, the mass of the Sicilian people swung behind the men of law with a passion, and has never stopped supporting them since.

    • Things can sometimes change for the better when a few brave souls stand up, hang the consequences.

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