Kelly's World | 'Fraid til me fool
One of the most critically liked war movies ever to come out of Hollywood is Saving Private Ryan.
Quick recap. A team of soldiers in World War II are sent to find a Private James Ryan, whose brothers have all been killed in the war.
The general who learns of the fate of the Ryan sons orders that James be brought back home to the US.
Now the scene in question for my diatribe this week comes when a German soldier is about to kill Private Mellish, one of the aforementioned soldiers on this rescue mission.
While Mellish is literally fighting for his life, a fellow Allied soldier, Corporal Upham, stands on the steps outside the room, with gun in hand, and fails to engage.
He stands on those steps like a trembling little punk while his comrade gets a knife sunk in him.
To be fair, Upham later holds a gun on about four Germans and forces them to surrender.
The German who passed him on the steps where he practically peed his pants, laughs at him. No doubt he considered him 'soft'.
Then and only then does big, bad Upham decide to shoot him. Oh please!
The first time I watched that scene I was mad as hell. I remember looking at the screen and shouting at Upham "Do something!"
I wanted to reach through the television and push him up the darn steps, or better yet, take the rifle from him and go up and help.
I should interject that I know the movie is, for the most part, fictional. But that just goes to show how good it is because it drew such reactions from a statue like me.
But back to my anger. Over time I've realised that I might have been a bit too harsh on the character.
To be fair to the Uphams of this world, we've all been there. No I don't mean in armed combat, I merely mean we've all been frozen stiff.
I certainly know I've been there and quite frankly it hasn't been for things even remotely deadly.
I remember having to introduce myself at a meeting of Key Club (I only went like three times) and my hands were ice cold.
Presentations in Class
Giving presentations in class weren't much better. Standing there in front of fellow students, some of whom I had known for years was like torture.
So imagine me in battle. If war declare tomorrow, I'm cutting off both index fingers and my own legs. Mi nah go!
The older I get, I haven't got much braver.
I remember one time when I worked with 'The Children's Own' newspaper we visited a school that was having boys' day.
A teacher wanted me to interview the head boy in front of the whole school. I politely told her that was not going to happen.
While her suggestion was well-intentioned, a who dem did think a go in front a everybody? Mi? Not a breadfruit.
So never chastise someone for being 'coward'. We're all scared by something.
And remember, "coward man still keep sound bone." Later
- Link me at firstname.lastname@example.org