Monday, April 02, 2007
"So Others May Live"
Elizabeth and I saw a good movie this weekend, The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, about Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers. While some of the acting was a bit stiff (as is Costner's M.O.) and some of the early ocean scenes were somewhat skimpy on the special effects side, the film still managed to tell a powerful coming-of-age story about loyalty, courage, selflessness and true heroism.
I had never thought much about the Coast Guard before. What do they actually do? They protects our waters and our borders, and to paraphrase the movie, they go out into the storms when everyone else is heading into shore. The elite Rescue Swimmers are the guys who are dropped from helicopters into the churning seas to rescue capsized sailors or fishermen or tourists. Everyday they head into work, they arrive with the knowledge that there is a good chance they could die that day.
The movie hints at a rivalry between the Navy and the Coast Guard. The Navy Seals are tough, superiorly conditioned, and trained to kill. The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are equally tough and conditioned, but in contrast, they are trained to save lives.
As the film concluded with a powerful and poignant rescue, the Rescue Swimmer's motto flashed across the screen (set to a nice little tune by the erstwhile rocker, Bryan Adams): "So Others May Live." The unwritten prologue to this motto is clearly, "I Will Die . . . "
What type of person chooses to risk their life daily to save perfect strangers?
I have chosen a service oriented career, one where my primary goal is to help alleviate the suffering of others. But there is a very big difference: I don't put my life on the line to do it. (Except for the occasional threatening encounter with a narcotic addict . . .) :)
I can think of two other movies which strike a similar but even more powerful chord: Saving Private Ryan and Ladder 49. I highly recommend both of these movies as well.
I suppose all stories of selfless heroism resonate back to the basic Christian narrative: a Savior who sacrifices His life to save us all. During Easter week, we might remember the power and meaning of Christ's atonement through the lens of the Coast Guard motto: "So Others May Live."
Posted by Mark at 9:09 AM