I’ve often said the final gift that Marc gave me was his teammates, his brothers. If you have never served in the military it would be hard for you to understand that bond that develops. Marc tried to explain that to me before he died, telling me he was as close to his teammates as he was his own brother. I couldn’t understand how that could be.
The week after Marc died, we had five of his SEAL brothers in our home, and my eyes were opened as I saw they loved Marc just as much as we did and were grieving as much as we were. That was the week that I became Momma Lee to them and they became my adopted boys.
Through the years that family of adopted boys has grown, and one of those men that I am blessed to have in my life is Marcus Luttrell. Marcus wrote the best selling book Lone Survivor and tells the story of Operation Red Wings that took place in Afghanistan in June of 2005. Nineteen men went in and only one returned, and he knew he had to tell the story to keep their memories alive.
When I read Lone Survivor not long after Marc died, I wasn’t sure if I was ready emotionally for it. I started it on Tuesday and was finished Thursday morning. I couldn’t put it down. My heart broke for these families who had lost loved ones; I knew their pain and the deep cost for freedom.
I couldn’t believe what Marcus had survived. He been shot over and over, fell off or been blown off numerous cliffs, and hunted like an animal by the Taliban. I knew I had to reach out and thank him and let him know I was here for him.
When I met Marcus, I learned there was a special connection between him and Marc that wasn’t a coincidence. Both of these heroes had the same name, Marc Alan, spelled the same way, and Marcus replaced my son at Camp Marc Lee after he was killed.
My Marc Alan left this earth and is in Heaven, but another Marc Alan was left for me.
No one will ever replace my son, but he saw to it that there was a plethora of them that we could love and support each other.
This weekend the movie Lone Survivor opens nationally in theaters across the nation. This is probably the best war movie I have ever seen. Obviously I am very biased as I know Marcus and many of the families who lost loved ones that day. I have been to three pre-screenings of the movie and would encourage each of you to see this movie and honor and remember these heroes and the sacrifices they make for us.
I was surprised the first time I saw the movie, as in one of the scenes in the team room as they are planning for the mission they focus on the wall and Marc’s Memorial patch that his teammates made and wore the rest of the deployment after he was killed.
Marc wasn’t part of that mission, but this was a way Marcus chose to honor and remember Marc. The love of brothers goes deep!
This movie obviously is not a documentary, but it is based on a true story. Marcus is a humble man and didn’t want the focus to be on him but to show how hard his brothers fought. The movie doesn’t show the 7 miles that Marcus crawled when he was paralyzed below the chest. He thought he was dying several times. He would draw a line in the dirt at his head and would crawl until his feet reached the line; he figured since he was still alive, he would draw the line and do it again. He did that for 7 miles; Talk about a never quit attitude.
This is a must-see movie. As a mother of a fallen hero, I can tell you that it is still strange to see my son’s name on a memorial wall, in a book or movie, but when we have heroes who sacrifice their lives for our freedoms, their stories need to be told. Hollywood has done this one right, and we need to support this movie and honor our heroes!