Military men have that dash of danger and peril about them whilst being seasoned in a heroism that is often spectacularly unassuming.
Death stalks the military hero like a shadow; an unstable war, the loneliness, the uncertainty and yet there’s a romance that is all pervasive in such a career choice. The military hero is often the last one left between good and evil, the final man standing who can save the world and life as we know it. Yet even then, and often after great danger, he demands little recompense for his actions, leaning instead to a pureness of motive that eschews money, fame and society’s adulation.
An officer. A gentleman. A man of principle and high morals. Why wouldn’t any woman love that?
War strips away the unimportant and focusses instead on what is crucial now. With emotions and timeframes condensed the military hero is like a small microcosm of all that is good and bad in the human form. He is identifiably under stress, he makes decisions that might affect a town, a country, the entire planet.
The stakes are high and the personal losses are higher still. Factor in trauma and inevitability, rigid training and the propensity for mistakes and there is a desperateness that makes a woman sit up and take notice whilst praying for the salvation of the embattled soldier hero.
His decisions are not small and there is no going back on them. One man could die or ten or a hundred or one thousand. Exponentially damning. Undeniably mesmerising as a story without limits.
Yet military films are an entertainment based in reality. Soldiers do die in war. And civilians. Military campaigns are often costly and terrible. Perhaps it’s the duality of truth and fiction that also tugs at the feminine heartstrings.
In the angry soldier lies the seeds of anarchy or heroism.
In the brave soldier the hope of redemption and possibility.
In the loner the promise of brotherhood and belonging.
In the injured the propensity for a heroic death or a miraculous recovery.
So many layers of human emotion. So much rising on one simple action. Salvation. Hope. Faith. Honour.
The unselfish and extraordinary actions of men who at any other time and place might have been only ordinary. The punch of the military hero lies in the transcending of what is into what could be.
The young soldier who smothers the wrongly pulled pin of a grenade with his own body. The officer who carries his colleagues broken corpse across the ever present danger on a battlefield.
All women hope to have a partner in life who might act with the same sort of unselfish truth and goodness, a man who might say this is what I have to do, and does it.
Military films and heroes hold the guiding light of honour. The parades, the comradeship, the uniforms, the medals all countered against the mud, blood, pain and danger. Two sides of the coin and more than two when balanced against the good of an individual, a community, a country, the world.
It’s the enormity of the odds, the smallness of the human condition, an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances and doing his best.
It’s a love story.
It’s a story of loss.
It’s the greatest story on earth in the worst places on earth. It’s entertainment and it’s reality, danger and hope, strength and truth. It’s every woman’s definition of honour.
Give me a man in a uniform with a brain under his braided cap and a heart that beats for justice and I’ll give you a woman who hopes to find a hero just like him. Damaged, brave and alpha. Honourable, independent and extraordinary. Honed by war and sharpened in passion.
No wonder the military hero is unmatched.
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