Well, I’ve done it. I’ve joined the ranks of the many who will be going to see the highly anticipated movie, Act of Valor. The movie not only contains real U.S. Navy SEALs but also (according to reports) depicts actual missions that these men carried out. As with many things which have happened in the past year, this film will most certainly bring the Navy SEALs into the spotlight of not just America, but the world as a whole. This brings me to the purpose of this post, which is two-fold.
First, our Navy SEALs are but one part of our Special Operations Forces who train for every possible situation to ensure the success of their missions. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that despite these things working in their favor, anything can go wrong. These men go into situations with as much information as possible, but no mission has a script. The outcome is always unwritten and yet to be determined. Since World War II we have lost over 270 UDT and/or SEALs. That doesn’t even count the tens of thousands of lives lost in other conflicts, including the global war on terror from all our branches of military. Our United States Military is much like a giant machine which has thousands of moving parts. Those parts need to work together cohesively in order to arrive at successful outcomes. They are all important and play an integral part in defending our country. Each and every one of our men and women serving are heroes in their own right. However, since this movie highlights our Navy SEALs, I ask you all to consider that each one of these men were more than just warriors trained by our United States Navy. They were a group who lived by a creed, an ethos which ran deeper than mere words. A group that quite simply put others before themselves more times than we will ever know. In 2011 we’ve learned more about details regarding special operations. Details which in my opinion, we simply do not need to know. While it may be exciting to hear, it’s probably best for the security of our armed forces and our nation that we know very little. Quite frankly at the end of the day, the safety of the men and women of the armed forces trumps any of our desire to know how things went down.
Secondly, as more people see the movie, there will undoubtedly be a sense of awe invoked by watching these warriors in action, knowing that these are the lengths they go to, to not just defend their country, but the world. With that being said, there may undoubtedly be some characters who decide to come out of the wood work claiming that they also are SEALs. Stolen Valor has become an epidemic in the past years and even more so with the events of the past year. Social networking sites are notorious for housing many of these individuals who have decided to claim ownership of a Trident.
My personal messages regarding this are, if someone tells you they are an active SEAL, chances are they are not. To any individual who may be considering claiming that they are SEAL and in turn deciding that glory is more important than integrity, I ask you to consider the following. Graduating BUDs and receiving a Trident does not come easy. It is a symbol worn with pride by those who earn it. They answer a call to duty that some can never understand. A call that probably can’t even be put into words. They do so because it is who they are and what they believe in. With each day they put others before themselves. Part of the SEAL Ethos is that they “serve with honor, on and off the battlefield”. Please don’t disrespect the honor they uphold by trying to take advantage of the ones who do so much for all us. So much more than we can ever possibly know.
And lastly, amidst the admiration for the Navy SEALs, please remember that many have lost their lives trying to protect their brothers, this country and the world.
For those wishing to donate in honor of our SEALs here are some charities: