Never did I ever think I would become completely immersed in a war story, to the point where I cried more than once and, more importantly, did not even multitask.

The series I watched is “The Pacific” (on Netflix), produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, among others. The war scenes are so realistic, not that I would actually know, but they certainly felt real and my heart was pounding with both fear and wonderment. I was completely surprised by my reaction to this miniseries as it evoked so much emotion in me. It made me realize the true, sad state our country is in right now, with our priorities focused on political agendas and self-serving, materialistic needs. It made me regretful that I didn’t listen more closely during the rare times my father was willing to talk about his experiences in WWII, specifically when his ship got bombed and he was in the ocean praying and making deals with God until he got rescued. It made me scared for my children should we go to war in the future.

There is one character who reminds me of one of my sons and he is a gentle person who was forced to shift his perspective in order to survive, making you wonder if he could ever retrieve the person he was prior to the war. They all went in one way and came out another, filled with relief and guilt for surviving after watching so many others die, unable to sleep because their subconscious couldn’t rest, feeling almost out-of-body and out-of-place as they tried to acclimate to everyday life again.

It made me question my ability to survive if thrust in their shoes or the shoes of their loved ones. The fear, the sorrow, the physical anguish, the latching on to strangers who are now like your family although you can’t get too close in case they don’t make it. It’s isolating, it’s bonding, and for many it was rewarding. The pride most of them felt fighting for their country, our country, was what kept them going.

I am awed at the depth of this series, at how they managed to convey every emotion possible and even coordinate all the war scenes, and if that’s what it really was like, I don’t know how anybody survived or had the courage to move forward. The complexity of human beings is explored deeply and here’s the kicker: It wasn’t until the end of the last episode that I learned this series was based on the memoirs of two marines, and the main characters depicted were/are real people, who they provide relevant information about, regardless of whether they lived or died.

I feel as if this series changed me, improved my understanding and my compassion. Made me not take all of this for granted or treat it as a given, the gift of freedom provided by the heroes of our past, and I’d like to think of our present as well. I think we need reminders every now and then in order to keep our perspectives true and clear.

Let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading.