USA Cares…another real critic…and friend.

Roger Stradley, with the amazing organization USA Cares, recently posted on their blog his review of Brothers At War. Simply put, we’re humbled and sincerely appreciative of the comments he made. Reading something like this makes it clear for us, once again, that all of the work that went into creating the film was worth it…many times over.

Thank you Roger for your kind words.

Here’s the full text of his review. The original post is here.

Brothers At War; A Must See

They are images that we have all come to know, and to think we understand. The young soldier sitting on top of his vehicle, armored vests on, pouches positioned all over his chest, helmet on with goggles and night vision device mounting frame and a steely eyed look far to distant for only being 19. The young carrier pilot, giving the snappy salute, thumbs up, then reaching to hang on as a catapult launches his jet down a very short runway off the end of the carrier and off to war.

These images are becoming almost a part of our lives, the war enters yet another year, and today, I listened to a young lady who was being recognized as “Student of the Month” at our local Chamber of Commerce, matter of a factly announce, “my dad is getting ready to go on his sevenths deployment”. She said it without hesitation, and without trepidation, it was just something she had grown up with. “My dad is going off to war…again”.

How could we possibly understand what these families are going through, how would we know, if we are like so many American families still untouched by this war on terror?

I would offer this recommendation. Buy the movie, “Brothers At War” DVD, it is in Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble and Best Buy and on Amazon. Jake Rademacher, the Director and Producer does more than tell a story about one family, he tells the whole story about one family, but it becomes a family you belong too, and you begin to sense the connecting lines back from Iraq to home and back.

I am not a professional movie critic, but like most of us, I know what I like. I like this movie. The language is a bit rough in spots, but it is the language of soldiers, one that I heard for nearly thirty years that I served. The camaraderie that you sense, between brothers and brothers at arms tell the story about how much they care about each other, and how fiercely they will fight to protect their own.

A Marine Staff Sergeant is shown to be a tough son of a gun, while leading and training an Iraqi infantry platoon, but when in the middle of a firefight loses some of them, you can tell that it wasn’t just a “job”, it was one of his men. He is instantly the consoling and calm voice as medics work to save the man’s life. You don’t find out what happens to the young Iraq soldier, but you do see the pain in the tough Marine. It is more than a just a job. Jake does a great job in making that point clear, and he does it skillfully and poignantly.

As Jake peels back the connections within his own family and that of his two brothers who are both soldiers and have served in Iraq, you find out that the family has already lost a son. You become a part of a family that is caught between conflicting emotions, one of pride for the soldiers and one of pain for the brother lost.

Listening to the ladies in their lives you see that each of them finds themselves in love with a man who is yet changed again, by what they have experienced and what they have seen. Both women, along with a mom and dad, deal with the changes by doing what we all do, smile, cry and lots of hugs. But when you see the new dad, fresh off the plane from Iraq, patiently avoid hugging his own daughter; because he knows he will scare her, you are reminded of the hidden costs of their service.

There are lots of films out there, but none as good as this one. It is one family, through the eyes of a brother, a brother who knows that this war is not over.

Take the time, here is the supporting website, Brothers At War, and watch the movie. You will be better for it. The fact that Jake has offered to assist USA Cares makes it even better, but that isn’t why I wrote this blog. I met Jake last December in a restaurant near the Sana Monica pier, and the man you see in the movie, is the man that will sit and eat pizza with you. He is one of us.

So why am I writing this beside the obvious reasons? Because.

While watching the Super Bowl, along with millions of other Americans, I realized at the end, that while the football game was either really good, or really bad, depending on who your team was, I was saddened by the lack of appreciation that they showed for the reason they were allowed to play the game in the first place. With the exception of a brief image of young men standing at attention in Iraq or Afghanistan, a precision team who carried our nation’s colors and a glance at the four ship flight of fighters streaking across the night’s sky, it was if maybe our nation wasn’t at war on two fronts, and that just maybe if you ignore it, it might go away. It won’t.

Jake, thanks for making the film. Thanks for taking the risk and for the effort you took to tell the story of not only your family, but of all the families who serve. You have done a service to all of those to whom we are so indebted.

Just so you know, in just the first week of February, 2010, USA Cares spent over $31,000 on our Veterans and their families, all in grants and all for validated needs. Many were in support of those who struggle with PTSD, and because of us, are receiving life changing treatment as they work to gain a “new normal” in their lives.

The story Jake told is valid, and he did a great job. Get the film.

Roger Stradley
USA Cares

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