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“Taking Chance” – A Story of Valor, Sacrifice, and Honor

Charlie Wingard

Charlie Wingard

Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson and Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Mississippi

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Before I close down an old blog, I wanted to move over a few movie recommendations.

HBO’s Taking Chance is the story of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobel (Kevin Bacon) who escorts the remains of Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps, killed in Iraq, from Dover AFB to their final resting place in Dubois, Wyoming.

There’s not a wasted moment in the film. Gracefully and poignantly, the story unfolds: a Marine’s ultimate sacrifice, the enduring devotion of his comrades in uniform, and the expressions of honor and respect shown a fallen hero by ordinary citizens as his body is escorted home.

The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote: “It was impossible to imagine, beforehand, all the ways a film like Taking Chance . . . could work its power. There are no conflicts, no warring sides, no mysteries of character — the usual stuff of drama. The story’s outcome is clear from the beginning. Yet it’s no less clear that Taking Chance is not only high drama, but a kind that is, in the most literal way, breathtaking — watching parts of it can make breathing an effort, and those parts come at every turn. It’s no less obvious that this film, about a Marine killed in combat, could have gone wrong in all sorts of ways and did so in none of them. There is in this work, at once so crushing and exhilarating, not a false note.”


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