Mark vs Cancer

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."


Jeff said...

Great thoughts. Thanks for the inspiration.

Danalin said...

Now I'd like to see The Guardian. I forgot about that movie. It seems that happens a lot - I see previews and think something looks good and then I forget about it and can never remember a good movie to see when we decide to rent something. I should make a list and put that movie on it.

Very inspiring thoughts, Mark. Especially during this Easter season. I just wrote a talk for Sunday that I am not going to be able to give. It is on the resurrection. It was a moving experience for me to just prepare it. I am so grateful for the beautiful gift of the resurrection and for the opportunity that each of us has for a glorious resurrection (to be resurrected and return to live with God). I hope that I can live my life to be worthy of the latter.

We won't be giving our talks on Sunday, however, because Ty has to travel to Spokane for some emergency with work and he has to work on Easter Sunday. So lame. So Max and I are going along for the ride so that he doesn't feel so all alone. In case you were wondering why we're not giving our talks...:)

Angie said...


Very inspiring. I love movies like that, and that it is a good reminder of what to be thinking about during Easter.

I had to prepare a sacrament meeting talk for Easter, too (except our Easter program was two weeks ago) and as I thought about it, it occurred to me how much I take the resurrection for granted--just not thinking about it and expressing thanks enough for it. Probably in much the same way that we take the Coast Guard or the Fire Department for granted...we just live our little lives without thinking that someone is paying the price for our safety. Anyway, I hope I can do better and be more grateful for their sacrifices, and for the ultimate sacrifice that was made for all of us.

Stephanie said...

Hello Mark,

I'm a new comer.

Last week my friend told me that her English teacher had recommended this movie. I saw it too and was deeply moved by it. I tried to write down the lines of the movie but I'm not a person whose mother language is English so I felt it so difficult. I was searching for the lines of it by Google and then found your article.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the movie. And I think I'll see Ladder 49 next week, as you recommended.