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Report On We Were Soldiers

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I will Leave No One Behind

Extended Essay of We Were Soldiers

The Vietnam War was a nightmare for many soldiers. It re-defined the meaning of war to an entire generation. As the conflict grew it became known around the world that this was a war that could not be won. After this was realized by America the main focus became to "get out" instead of "getting a victory". In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, directed by Randall Wallace, a true account of the first major battle in Vietnam is given. At the beginning of the film he introduces to us many of the soldiers and their families. This is a very smart technique, because it ensures that the audience not only will care about each one, but also tell them apart. Wallace exemplifies two very fundamental concepts that show up throughout this film. One shows the best of worst of humanity by illustrating to us that war is a tool for the powerful and that just because someone is your enemy does not make them evil. He also portrays both Vietcong and American soldiers in a manner that is correlative. Even though they were fighting each other for different reasons and dying for different countries, both sides were human and their deaths brought grief and sadness to someone.

Early in the movie Mel Gibson, who plays Lt. Col. Hal Moore, is portrayed more as a husband and father than as a soldier. His wife Julie (played by Madeline Stowe) displays much support and respect for her husband and his job. Many other women were also introduced at the start of the film and later we learned who their husbands were. There were many small scenes during this segment of the movie that were both intriguing and gave an idealistic sense of realism to the film. One such scene is when Cecil Moore(played by Sloam Momsen), Moore's youngest daughter, asks her father "What is a War?" At that moment Moore tries for a few seconds to come up with the simplest answer, but when he realizes that it is not that simple he just tells her what it actually is. Another scene which dramatizes the realism of racism during that time is when Alma Givens, played by Simbi Khali(a native of Mississippi), explains to one of the wives that her husband gives respect only to those who earned it and nothing not even racism can take that away from him. Another interesting aspect about this film is that Hal Moore took the leading role in being a father-like figure to all his troops when they went into battle, but also Julie Moore became a leader whenever there was grieving and sadness upon the wives that had lost their husbands. She was always there to support the wives and help them through the tough times.

The year is 1965 and Lt. Col. Hal Moore is the leader of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry. Moore is assigned to lead his men into battle in the Ia Drang Valley, commonly known as "The Valley of Death". This would be the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese soldiers(a.k.a Vietcong). Four-hundred of Moore's men were drawn into an ambush, trapped for many days, and bombastically outnumbered by the Vietcong. Instead of giving up and retreating, they stayed and fought to the end. Moore's commanding officer Sgt. Major Plumer(played by Sam Elliot) is a cocky drill sergeant who is by Moore's side most of the battle. Plumer is remembered for his audacious and insane one-liners through-out the movie and his un-hindered willingness to kill the enemy. Although early on he seems to be incapable of any outward sign of emotion, Plumer did show some grief and sadness in one of the last scenes of the movie when many of his men had



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