Huffington Post did an outstanding job yesterday on their site with the post “Martin Luther King’s Dream still not a reality” and I suggest you go check it out. As much as we blab that it has, the stats in the above post are very disturbing. But I’m not gonna go in that direction.
This past weekend I happened upon a movie I had never seen called “Hart’s War” with Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard and Marcel Iureş which is primarily a prisoner-of-war movie focused squarely on the human condition during wartime, examining the willingness to sacrifice for others and the issue of moral courage under pressure, or lack thereof.
(Bear with me)
The historical setting for the film is December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, when the Germans launched a surprisingly successful offensive against American troop positions in Belgium. As the movie begins, Lieutenant Hart is captured by the Germans and is then taken away for interrogation. Hart, a Yale law student who comes from a privileged background, tries to only give his name, rank and serial number to his Nazi interrogator. But Hart is weak and can’t hold up for long under the intense psychological pressure. He caves in and reveals the location of an American fuel dump to the fuel-starved Germans.
This is Hart’s major failing and it haunts him. When he arrives at his assigned POW camp, fellow American officers know right away that Hart cooperated with the Germans due to the brevity of time he spent in interrogation. The American officers in the camp, led by McNamara, decide to shun Hart and place him in a barracks for enlisted men.
Hart gets along OK with the enlisted men until two new American POWs arrive. They happen to be African American fighter pilots, and are immediately made to feel unwelcome by the all-white prisoners, egged on by deeply prejudiced Sgt. Bedford, played by Cole Hauser.
One thing leads to another and eventually Sgt. Bedford winds up dead. The Germans find one of the African American pilots, Lt. Lincoln Scott, played by Terrence Howard, at the murder scene. Under normal circumstances in the camp, the Germans would simply shoot him on the spot and forego any trial. But here is where the movie changes course radically from other POW flicks. Col. McNamara asks for a trial and then assigns Lt. Hart, a second year law student in civilian life, to defend Lt. Scott. So now we have an interesting courtroom drama combined with the usual tunnel-your-way-out POW tale.
Here is one of the most moving scenes from the trial titled “We Served Our Country” (click photo)
It’s sad to think that folks had to endure this kind of nonsense, and still do – to this day.
Thank you, Dr. King, for your dream and all you did to fight for your fellowman. May your dream become a reality in every facet of our lives.