Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night at the Movies (Restrepo) with 1SG Mark Patterson

Tonight was another one of those nights when I had to ask myself, "how did I ever get so lucky to know these men?"

Mark and me after seeing Restrepo

Several weeks ago 1SG Mark Patterson's mom, Carol, contacted me about the possibility of having Restrepo opened in a local theater when Mark came home for R & R. It seemed like a long shot but definitely worth a try. MANY thanks to National Geographic, Sebastian Junger and Laura Kim for making it happen!

For those of you who have seen Restrepo and may not remember who 1SG Patterson is (well, first of all he was SFC Patterson in the film) he's probably best remembered, God bless him, for being visited by the owner of the cow the just happened to get caught up in the concertina wire and had to be killed. Of course that meant it had to be eaten. 1SG Patterson was actually featured in many more important scenes in the film but even he admitted tonight that he'll forever be remembered for the cow.

You may also remember 1SG Patterson from this post when he declared me a LOSER! (That's for you, Angela)

Carol, Mark and the rest of their immediate and extended family as well as friends were there in force tonight. I counted close to 70 people in the theater not long before the film started. WELL DONE Carol for getting the word out.  It was so nice to finally meet you, your family and friends - especially "the hens."

I even got to meet two more great troop supporters, Mary and Vickie, who want to help out supporting deployed troops from other units when Mark's deployment is over.  BONUS!

Carol (Mark's mom) and Mark at the theater

After the film was over Mark, literally, popped up out of his seat, turned to face the crowd and asked if anyone had any questions.  There were many and he fielded them like a pro.  He was articulate, engaging, very informative and quite entertaining at times.

Mark during the question and answer session


More questions and answers


Questions and answers continued

Late into the night I remembered a discussion that I had with Sebastian Junger when he was in Memphis for a book signing for "WAR". We were talking about how knowing these Paratroopers had impacted our lives. Sebastian told me that after being at OP Restrepo with those men for so long he found himself much more emotional - even getting misty eyed at weddings which is something he'd never experienced before. He said that witnessing and, to some extent, being a part of the bond they had was life changing.  I told him that I had learned the absolute meaning of unconditional love from these men. He thought for a moment and agreed with me.  He actually said, "I've never thought about it but you are right."

Tonight, once again, I felt that unconditional love.  So many Paratroopers and family members of the 173rd, 2-503 have embraced me with that unconditional love over the past few years.  It is impossible to explain it and a treasure to feel it.  I am, without question, one of the luckiest women on this planet and so very grateful to all of them.

I want to thank Carol, Mark and all of the Patterson's for allowing me to share this special night.  Mark, enjoy your R & R.  I hope you get in lots of rounds of golf and that your mom keeps your tummy filled with her great home cooking. 

P. S.  Angela, message delivered!  Oh, and he did ask for more of MY brownies.  Andi, message delivered!

4 comments:

Coffeypot said...

I do remember his and the cow from the movie. Recon he will be know now as 'The Cowboy'?

Maggie45 said...

You ARE one of the luckiest women on this planet, but very, very outstandingly deserving of it! I would have loved to have been there. I remember Sgt Patterson in more than the cow scene, although that surely was memorable.

I was so affected by the film that I went to see it three times. I most likely would have gone more, but it was a 220 mile round trip each time, and gas is not cheap in Bisbee, Az, although I did fill up each time in Tucson where it was almost 40 cents a gallon cheaper. Words can't express how grateful I am for all the men in the 173rd, their families, Tim and Sebastian for bringing their stories to the screen, all the people involved in getting it into the theatres like Kanani Fong, and you especially for all that you do for our guys and their families. As I've told all my friends when I talk about our military....you are one hell of a woman!

Maggie45 aka MaryMargaret Goff
Bisbee, Az

Arlette said...

Hi - I work for ABC News, and we are interested in using some of the photos posted on your old blog site. We specifically want to use the uniformed photos of Josh Brennan for a piece about a recent recipient of a medal of honor. Could you please let me know if we'd have permission to use these? My e-mail is arlette.saenz@abc.com. Thanks so much. - Arlette

Kanani said...

What a great post! Sorry I am late in catching up. I'm really glad Laura made it come together so that it showed in their town.

@Margaret,
I'm glad you saw it in Tucson, sad it didn't make it to Bisbee. But... am hoping you'll be able to buy the DVD as well. Thank you for driving all the way to see the film. How wonderful, and I am grateful. I'm sure Tim & Sebastian feel the same.