Sunday, August 06, 2006

Getting Emotional with Ladder 49

Part of my nostalgic weekend form war movies I caught Ladder 49 again.

Firefighters have always been held in high regard. They run into burning buildings while everyone else is running out. They put their lives on the line to save others. It is a courage that most of us would like to think we have, but few of us are ever put into a position to test.

Chief Kennedy: People are always asking me how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else is running out. Courage is the answer.

......and duty in case you didn't know. Ladder 49 is about the brave men of Baltimore Firehouse number 49. The film explores their lives, their joys and their grief by way of a compelling glimpse into their families and the individual sacrifices that every firefighter must face when they charge out of the firehouse to save another building or another life at great personal risk and sometimes a great loss.

It a great drama different from your Backdraft...The story is told in a series of flashbacks after the now veteran firefighter Jack is trapped inside a raging inferno. The movie progresses as Jack finds acceptance by his fellow firefighters and enters into love and marriage with Linda (Jacinda Barrett). Thereafter, both Jack and Linda struggle and ultimately accept the negative and dangerous aspects of the job as the deaths and severe injuries take their toll on Jack and his fellow firefighters. The memories of his early life as a firefighter flood Jack's mind while he struggles to break through a wall to make his rescue easier.

This film seems to be authentically about real people doing real things in the closely-knit community of firefighters. In fact, I must admit to being somewhat envious of the intimate community they all seemed to share. A community where everyone was connected and concerned about one another, rather than the indifference seen in most of today's society. A person must have felt that he/she really belonged and mattered to the rest. A collective where you could rely on each other for emotional, financial, and any other assistance you needed.

Ron Howard (Happy Days) puts the audience in the middle of the fire on the screen so well that you cringe when a character is hurt and shed a few tears when one pays the ultimate price. (Yeah men do cry)

Chief Kennedy: It's never an easy thing, saying goodbye to a brother firefighter, it's not. And this time, particularly is difficult for me because I watched Jack grow into a, well, into one of the finest firefighters I've ever known. He joined this department because he wanted to help people, who knows how many homes are still standing because Jack was there or how many lives were spared. He gave his life for that cause. We'll never forget you Jack. And we're better for having known you. But I make you this one promise, tomorrow when that bell rings, we will be back on the truck, because you were the bravest of the brave. People are always asking me, how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else is running out? Well, Jack, you answered that question by saving another man's life. Your courage is the answer. And today we will be as brave as you, by not mourning you, but by celebrating your life. So I'd like everyone to stand up and celebrate the life of Jack Morrison.

Lets celebrate the lives

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