A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Monday, May 29, 2006

Movie Madness Monday: Memorial Day

Welcome to the Memorial Day edition of Movie Madness Monday! Let us today remember the actions of brave men and women everywhere who have served the cause of freedom and justice in the defense of our nation.

So here are my quotes from today's movie. You respond with a quote of your own from the same movie. Let's see how you do:

"I have here a very old letter, written to a Mrs. Bixby in Boston. 'Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.'"

"Hey, Wade, I got a mother, you got a mother, the sarge has got a mother. I'm willing to bet that even the Captain's got a mother. Well, maybe not the Captain, but the rest of us have got mothers."

"Is that what I'm supposed to tell your mother when she gets another folded American flag?"
"You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she'd understand that."


"War educates the senses, calls into action the will, perfects the physical constitution, brings men into such swift and close collision in critical moments that man measures man."
"I guess that's Emerson's way of finding the bright side."

****Wednesday Update: The film for this week is


which includes probably one of the most intense Normandy experiences ever cinematically rendered. Here was the scene that really got me, though:
There's the adult Ryan saluting the grave of Captain Miller. I have seen grown men, hardbitten men, weep at this scene.

A few years back, the state of Oklahoma passed a law that anyone who did not graduate from high school because they joined the military would be given an actual diploma, from their original school district, if possible. My father dropped out of high school to join the Navy in his senior year of high school to serve during World War II. At the age of 79, he and all of his family-- from California, Missouri, and from Tulsa-- went back to his hometown for a special graduation ceremony for my father and one other gentleman who had also served in World War II.

The entire school district turned out for this Veterans' Day presentation. Some of the high school students made a special presentation, which included some footage of the Normandy invasion from this film. Then my father-- the same father who would not wear anything that looked like a tuxedo to my own wedding, who almost never was seen in anything but work clothes or jeans, replete in electric blue cap and gown, received his diploma as a member of the class of 2002 at his old high school in southwestern Oklahoma. At my Dad's memorial service, the cap, gown and diploma were among my father's most treasured possessions to be displayed.

I still have very emotional memories of this film.


At 5/29/06, 12:43 PM, Anonymous AL Grad said...

"I looked up fubar in the German dictionary and there's no fubar in here."

One of the greatest movie in all times. When I want to test out a new sound system at home, I use this movie.

At 5/29/06, 2:51 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"I got a bad feeling about this one."

"When was the last time you felt good about anything?"

Great movie - I wish I could show it in class.

At 5/29/06, 4:09 PM, Blogger 100farmers said...

I can't remember an exact quote but I do recall Ryan asking which brother had been killed and being told that they were all dead. I am reading an interesting book called "The Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It explores the political and personal Lincoln well. I kinda piggy backed off of your reading list. Thanks.

At 5/29/06, 6:47 PM, Blogger Smithie said...

I've only seen this movie once, that was enough, so I don't have any quotes. My students however are treated to the first 25 minutes or so (with permission slips) when we talk about D-Day. Their post viewing silence speaks volumes.

At 5/29/06, 6:58 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Too easy, at least as far as IDing the film. I'll probably get this quote wrong but...

"He better be worth it. He'd better cure a disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb."

At 5/29/06, 9:37 PM, Blogger Mrs. N said...

Ditto from smithie - only needed to see it once. And ditto from tim - that was the gyst of my quote.

At 5/29/06, 10:50 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

It is a great movie-- I thought about doing something less obvious, but that Lincoln quote just seals it for Memorial Day.

There's a family story that goes along with this film-- I'll tell it on Wednesday.

At 5/30/06, 8:13 AM, Blogger graycie said...

Last November I wrote about my uncle who went through D-Day as a seventeen-year-old bosun's mate. (I don't know how to make a link in the comments part, so here's the URL: http://graycie5198.blogspot.com/2005/11/veteran.html#links)

He said that the first 25 minutes of the film was the nearest thing he had ever seen to what it was like to come ashore that day. He also said that it wasn't even close.

At 5/30/06, 9:57 AM, Anonymous CPT K said...

For al grad:

FUBAR is a military acronym. It stands for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition, although soldiers will invariably replace the first word with something more emphatic.

A great movie over all, especially for looking at the little paradoxes that arise in each and every war.

At 5/30/06, 2:25 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Capt. k:

Al grad was quoting from the movie-- and I usually hear about the F standing for somethin' else, too.....

At 5/30/06, 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan: "Picture a girl who took a nose dive from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."

One of Spielberg's finest moments. Did you see "Munich" yet? Yowza.

At 5/30/06, 4:53 PM, Anonymous AL Grad said...

To Capt K:

SNAFU -- Situation Normal ... All "Fouled" Up

Not in the movie but you can't find it in the German dictionary either.

At 5/30/06, 5:22 PM, Anonymous Mrs. Bog said...

We are lucky. All our veterans who went off to war came back home.
I have a funny story about my grandfather.
He was a driver for a Colonel in World War One. Both of them, my grandfather and the Colonel, were first generation Americans, their families coming from Germany.
One day they were driving along a country road in France when all of a sudden bombs were bursting around them.
The Colonel, in his panic, reverted to the language he heard at his mother's knee, including translating our family name back into German and hollered, "Gott in Himmel, Dreizigacker! Snell, snell!!!"

At 5/30/06, 6:08 PM, Blogger Mister Teacher said...

I don't have any mind-blowing quotes from the movie, but I think it is funny to point out that one of the dormitories at Duke University (my alma mater) is "unofficially" named FUBAR...

At 5/30/06, 7:31 PM, Anonymous MellowOut said...

"It's like finding needles in a stack of needles."

(quoting a German voice on the loudspeaker) "'The Statue of Liberty is kaput.' That's disconcerting."

al grad, this was the first movie I played on the first DVD player I ever owned. I watched it with my father, feeling guilty for being amazed at the quality of DVD picture and sound while watching men get blown up.

At 5/30/06, 9:01 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Yes, I saw Munich. It was an amazing piece of film, unsentimental and thought-provoking.

I will have to wait to see it again. It was intense.

I spent this weekend watching Band of Brothers. All the way through. Another incredible achievement in film, if only for the small screen.

At 5/31/06, 12:15 PM, Blogger World Geography Teacher said...

Vin! Vin! Are you okay?

At 5/31/06, 12:15 PM, Blogger World Geography Teacher said...

Vin! Vin! Are you okay?


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