Movie Review - The League of Grateful Sons

Geoffrey Botkin
Vision Forum Ministries, The Faith of Our Fathers Project

For over sixty years we’ve had a dilemma. That dilemma is that the veterans of WWII were so scarred by what they saw and did that they can’t stand to talk about it. Or, some consider themselves as having merely done their duty. Still others look at what some extraordinary men did and think that it would be wrong for them to tell stories and gain any glory when there were many men who did more. So for all these reasons the great stories of WWII are vanishing without a soul who can tell them. According to the Veterans Administration 1,000 WWII veterans die daily. That means that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of stories are lost daily. According to statistics then—which are not totally accurate, but are good guides—in a little over five years*, there won’t be one left. Even by going with some less severe statistics that say only 850 die per day, we’re left with less than seven years. But in 2005 a group called Vision Forum decided to do something about it. They utilized three commercial jets, a distant island, and a video camera to uncover some of the untold stories of WWII, and make more people ask instead of just passing by. They took a group of men in their eighties to a remote island in the Pacific. The Island: Iwo Jima. The mission: for the first and probably last time in history to hold a reunion on the shores where 6,822 men died. But more than a reunion, it was an opportunity for sons, grandsons, and great grandsons to hear the stories that are being lost every day. It was also to make a DVD meant to inspire more sons to start asking questions, and more fathers to answer those questions and tell their stories. This documentary tells some of those stories.

Violent and Intense Content:
There are a few people who are shot, but most of the violence is actually footage (in black and white) of the battlefield after the battle. There are, naturally, corpses on the battle field. None of it is graphic, but there are several scenes where it shows either dead or wounded soldiers.

Cultural Stumbling-Blocks:
One soldier smokes a pipe.

It’s nice in all of our revisionist society to find a few documentaries that are historically accurate. You’d think that a war like WWII, that we still have veterans from, couldn’t be revised too much. But that simply isn’t the case. This is one of those few accurate documentaries. Most of the stories are derived from the original veterans, their letters, and their sons. It’s always pleasant to come across some accurate, biblically minded documentaries.

Altogether this is a film I would definitely Recommend. This film is best suited to lads eight years and over, and parents will probably want to watch this with their children the first time for those younger than ten, because of the violence. I would especially recommend this film if you have any relatives, friends, or neighbors that are veterans. We can learn so much from them, and there are fewer every day. One day there won’t be any more.

*Dating from May, 2011



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