Today I am tucked in my bed, watching a screener of Zero Dark Thirty, safe because of those who fight for us every day, in unsafe situations.
I thought of this commercial I did many years ago. We wrapped film shortly before 9/11, and several of the Marines involved (there were seventeen actually, if you look closely at the backdrop) went directly to Afghanistan. The military always uses their best and brightest in commercials. Until this, they had only used officers, never enlisted men. That changed with this one. The main climber was enlisted, but because of military protocol, he was changed to an officer minutes before he did the thing with the sword at the end.
I built the first digital print camouflage uniform ever seen for this commercial. It was interesting fabric with special black dye that disappeared under night vision goggles and certain other circumstances. The guy doubling the climber was one of the top snipers on the planet. It was hard to get so close to all of them, knowing that they would eventually be sent into harm's way. I cannot imagine how their families do it.
It was a tough shoot, physically, even for them. There was all sorts of security clearance. I was cleared by the Pentagon, and my blood type was on board when I went up with them in the helicopters.
In the end, those Marines called me into one of their rooms one night and gave me an officer's pin. Nice.
A very humbling experience, I will tell you that. Never again would I pass a soldier and not thank him or her for serving, past or present. Never again would I not give up my seat in the front of the plane if there is a service person on board. Never goes by a Memorial Day that I don't take flowers to veterans at the VA, or others at their graves.
A strong military is a necessity, like it or not. I salute those who stand watch that we might sleep in peace.