I think the first time I saw a woman prisoner of war was in a movie about the Bataan Death March and the women nurses taken prisoner by the Japanese called Women of Valor. That aired three years before I enlisted.
Also the year Jessica Lynch was born, probably one of the most famous women prisoners of war (please no commentary on the political side). It’s now been twelve years since she was rescued. She has an interview on CNN, one of those “Where are they now?”
The most amazing thing was that people keep expecting her to have gotten over it now, like it wasn’t a big deal when it happened. It shows the divide where people who have never experienced war really don’t get how profound it is, and how life changing it is.
After she was rescued, one of the networks rushed out a telefilm called “Saving Jessica Lynch.” I watched it and probably shouldn’t have. It was an awful film. Poorly written, poorly directed, poorly acted.
But there was one scene in it that stopped me cold. This supply company was on a convoy going across the desert. The convoy commander was lost, so in typical Army mentality, he was still thinking “Accomplish the mission.” He kept the convoy going in the same direction and drove right into the ambush.
I had to turn off the movie and walk away from it. I was very close to having a meltdown, because the realization hit me that it could have easily happened in my company. It’s such an Army thing to do.
The movie aired in 2003. Desert Storm ended in 1991. That’s twelve years.
War’s not something you really get over; it’s something that’s always with you.