Real Life Heroes


Hay Folks!

Hope your summer is going well. With summer blockbusters in full swing I just want to put a bug in your ear and suggest something. Instead of watching a film about fictional heroes, how about watching a film based on actual heroes?

I finally had the privilege of reading the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and then steeled my soul to watch Peter Berg’s impressive film based on the book. I don’t generally clamor to see R rated films for reasons that I won’t bore you with. But I did see this one. After reading the book, I felt the need to see this film. And I feel called to ask you all to see it, if you have not already done so.

Fair warning. It is a very difficult film to watch, heartbreaking actually. You probably already know the film chronicles the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative Ahmad Shah (well played by Yousuf Azami) in remote and mountainous North-Eastern Afghanistan. Like the book, the film depicts the SEALS compassionate refusal to kill 3 goat shepherds that find them spying on Shah. It is this knowingly sacrificial decision that ultimately leads to the Team being completely outnumbered and fighting valiantly for survival. The film is bloody, violent, troubling and has lots of language. But it also exemplifies extreme sacrifice for not only strangers, but for each other. These men are brothers in the truest sense. And the film clearly depicts their devotion to each other’s survival. The film is full of great compassion, courage and loyalty. And it is an extreme example of the ultimate act of putting others first.

Now granted, there are a lot of war films out there. And many of them are really, really great. But this one is unique. Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) survives because of SEAL Team LT Mike Murphy’s (played heroically by Taylor Kitsch) sacrifice and very courageous Pashtan Villagers who protect and defend him with their own lives. This small village is ferocious in their defense of Luttrell, yet gentle in convincing him that they are not his enemy. But what got to me most was that these Villagers understand and fully appreciate that American soldiers have nothing to gain by fighting the Taliban along side them and everything to lose. They fight and die because they believe they are called to protect the World. And they enter into these villagers’ fight willingly, expecting nothing in return. I wonder how many of us here in the US even give a second thought to thanking a service man or woman when we see them in the grocery store.

We take so much for granted here in Austin and in American. Life is pretty great here. This film is a visual representation of the men who served the American people and the World to the fullest extent possible in it’s most violent and remote region. There was only 1 survivor from SEAL Team 10. He wrote his story down so we could know the men who gave everything for the good of others. His story was made into a film so that we could understand and appreciate what our world might become without those who are willing to serve others first. Isn’t this what living the Gospel life is all about?

So, I challenge you to see this film. Have a box of Kleenex at your side. And I also challenge you to support our men and women in uniform in a tangible way. Please consider donating to:

In November we will be screening Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down a powerful short documentary on the 1993 ill-fated mission. We are working on scheduling it to coincide with Veterans Day. Be sure to check our website for dates and times. At this screening we will be collecting donations for both organizations. We hope you will join us in honoring our fine men and women in uniform.


After surviving his operations in Afghanistan, Marcus returned home to his ranch in Texas, the center of his post-combat recovery and restoration. There, Marcus had time to recover, to think and to feel the love and support of close friends and family as he healed his wounds. Based upon first hand experiences of what is needed to provide holistic healing beyond standard government programs, Marcus established the Lone Survivor Foundation in 2010 with the intent to bring the wounded service members into the same type of environment that healed Marcus. A place of solitude and beauty, where there was a close-knit and understanding support system. A place where the service members and their families could heal together as they all worked through the consequences of war. The Foundation is dedicated to honoring and remembering American service members by providing unique educational, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness opportunities to U.S. Armed Forces members and their families.


Jamee Kennedy

TAFF Executive Director

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