6 movie scenes that show what military families go through

Military movies traditionally focus the lens on the troops fighting overseas while skipping the story of the families at home.

Here are 6 movie scenes that remind viewers how hard the lives of military spouses and children can be:

1. “We Were Soldiers” – Notification of next of kin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VglR1HaNlV8

Families of deployed service members live with the dread of a casualty notification officer showing up. Families from the Vietnam War and earlier conflicts had the same fear, but it was embodied in taxi drivers who delivered dreaded telegrams. In “We Were Soldiers,” Julia Moore almost loses it when a cabbie walks to her door. Luckily he’s not there for her, just directions to another house.

The trauma for real-world families can be visceral. “I’ve picked family members off the floor,” Army chaplain Capt. Gregory J. Broderick told the Army News Service. “I’ve sat and held them as they’ve rocked and cried. People have been so upset they can’t change their baby’s diaper.”

2. “A War” – Family members are never the only priority

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPxAvdUGR20&feature=youtu.be

Service members have to juggle the needs of the nation with the needs of their family. In this clip from the Oscar-nominated “A War,” the commander’s wife argues for her husband to say whatever it takes to avoid jail time after an errant airstrike. For Claus Pederson, the commander, the necessity of supporting his family’s needs has to be balanced with the needs of his troops.

3. “American Sniper” – The family never knows when the service member is safe, except when they know they aren’t

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyusR7Qsebg

Troops usually know whether the current danger level is high or low. They get updated on local threats, know when they’re safe behind walls or in the most dangerous part of the battlefield, and are watching out for enemies.

For family members, the threat is always real and they never know if their soldier is in relative safety or outside the wire. The only exception is when they’re actively speaking to their loved one, in which case every background noise is terrifying.

4. “The Hurt Locker” – The soldier who comes home may not be the one who left

https://youtu.be/jA713R-tRh0?t=57s

“Hurt Locker” was Oscar gold but hated-on by vets (for good reason). But it got some parts of the military experience right. In this scene, explosive ordnance disposal technician William James is playing with his son while talking through his own scars from deployment. The family will often want to help, but troops may want to talk only rarely or not at all.

For James, the best course of action was apparently to talk to the only family member who can’t possibly understand.

5. “American Sniper” – PTSD can be a tough problem for military families

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzPHc7Vv70w

While most movies overplay the symptoms of PTSD, “American Sniper” earned a lot of credit for portraying a vet afflicted by the disorder as mostly just stuck in their own thoughts, rather than showing them as a caricature of violence.

American Sniper had other good scenes about vets struggling with normal relations at home, including this one from a barbecue and the scene in a mechanic’s shop.

6. “Independence Day” – Military families face national crises without a head of household

Will-Smith-Aliens-Scene-Independence-Day

Photo: YouTube/TrailersPlaygroundHD

While “Independence Day” is hardly a gritty war movie, it contains one scene that reflects a dark reality for military families. When Will Smith’s Capt. Steven Hiller learns that aliens have arrived on earth, he immediately heads to base to get ready for a fight.

When the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, most Americans were reeling from the surprise attack and military families had to recover while their loved ones went to bases to get ready for deployment. President George W. Bush even said in his speech for all Americans with a uniform to get it ready.

TOP ARTICLES
A Vietnam veteran returned a library book after 52 years

A Marine deployed to a recon battalion in Vietnam wanted a perspective on the locals. So he checked a book out from the base library... for half a century.

This musician made a music video with the SEAL who killed bin Laden

Tim Montana is a musician with a “rip-roaring, swamp’rockin’ vibe” — and he’s just getting started. The coolest thing about him? He loves helping vets.

This is what the Army's 'Iron Men of Metz' and Attila the Hun have in common

The Iron Men of Metz did what only Attila the Hun could do some 1,500 years before: capture the heavily fortified city of Metz and force the enemy out.

5 terribly hilarious gifts to scuff up a basic trainee

Why not show that you truly care about your young recruit by also helping their trainers mess with them? Get in on the fun! Be creative.

The MARSOC driving course is not like your typical day at the DMV

These Marines continuously train to keep their skills sharp and take pride in being the best at all ends of the spectrum — including tactical driving.

7 more phrases old school veterans can't stop saying — and we love it

We love our old-school veterans that don't have a problem speaking their minds. They have some humorous sayings that we still use to this day.

This Army nurse's epic fight for a memorial for women Vietnam veterans

Some 11,000 women served in Vietnam, many as nurses and many under hostile fire. They had to fight to have their memorial built on the National Mall.

5 tips to prepare potential boots to join the military

No matter which branch you're thinking of joining, these mental and physical tips will help you be ready for when you're staring at a smoky bear hat.

6 reasons the Air Force wants to get its hands on Russian DNA

Ankle bone connected to the shin bone, shin bone connected to the knee bone, knee bone connected to a Russian, Air Force wants to get his genome.

US Navy searches for 3 missing sailors after plane crashes en route to USS Ronald Reagan

The US Navy is conducting a search for the 3 missing sailors after a plane carrying 11 passengers crashed into the sea southeast of Okinawa.