Director Owen Crump approached Paramount Pictures producer Hal Wallis for help with his idea for the first movie ever filmed entirely on the front lines of a war. It would be in black and white to give it a documentary feel. Every soldier would be played by a real front-line solder. Not a single actor "playing" soldier. Every explosion, every bullet would be the real, government-issued thing.
… It was mid-June, 1953, when filming of Paramount Pictures’ Cease Fire! began, and everyone knew the summer would out-live this war. It was over. All but one reveled in the deliciousness of their incredible turn of events; Ricardo [Carrasco], however, could scarcely bare it. The 19-year-old from Texas was quiet – moodier than his comrades, and every day he would ask the same question: "When can I go back to my fellahs?"
Ricardo knew of the Chinese desire to take Pork Chop, where he had been fighting, and their habit of nighttime attacks. Every morning at the War Correspondents Building in Seoul he would run to a reporter and ask if the Chinese had attacked Pork Chop yet. Every night his prayers were the same: Please, God. Please don’t let the Chinese attack before I can get back.
… Why would he go back to fight in a war that was over anyway? He had been under orders; no one would have thought less of him. In fact, no one had expected him back before the end of the war. They assumed when he was chosen in mid-June that he would be gone the rest of the summer. So why did he go back to fight in a war that was almost over, however tenuous and pretend that ending might be? Why would God allow one such as Ricardo to give up so much, but have his sacrifice virtually unknown by the very ones for whom he did everything?
I’ve pondered that long and hard myself. Why? The answer came from an unexpected place: Sunday School.
I was listening with great interest to a man explain his interpretation of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The question had been posed: If God is omniscient, then He knew what Abraham would do. He knew this faithful son loved Him more than even his own long-promised son, and would give him up at his Father’s command. Then why the test at all? Why did God ask Abraham to do what He already knew he would do?
Then came the answer that to me seemed so perfect, so beautiful in its simplicity that it had to be right. God had to prove to Abraham just how strong Abraham really was. It wasn’t that God doubted Abraham’s capability…it was that being mortal, Abraham doubted himself. Abraham had to know what Abraham could do. Like everything God does, it was not for His benefit, but for ours. I loved it!
This is so very characteristic of our Father in Heaven…to show us, weak as we are, that we have within the seeds of Godhood, Deity’s DNA. That we are capable of turning evil that we do or that is done against us into something divine. It is this ability that makes us most like God; a "God Moment," as I often call magnanimous acts of mere mortal men
This analogy is the warrior spirit defined. I have always felt that man is at his most spiritual when he is at war. Now this puzzles many who have heard me say this. Surely war is an evil, murderous event in our existence for which we are punished by God, right? How can it then also be good?
I have been studying the men of the Korean War for 24 years now. These valiant servants of both God and man hesitate to speak of what they’ve seen, what they’ve done. I have seen their tears, slow and trembling on the edge of graying eyelashes, slipping down care-worn cheeks as they recount their tales of war. I have strained to hear their voices, so low with the agony of this cross they bear. Many of their tears are for the brutality and horror inherent in war…the dead and mangled bodies of beloved friends, boys barely old enough to shave now forever frozen in time, never aging another moment in the memories of those who watched them die.
… This is a most glorious testament to manhood and the warrior spirit…that they bear this arduous burden with quiet dignity so those they love won’t have to. The beauty of this selfless act leaves me in awe.
I have long understood the willingness to die for a friend…after all, that is the epitome of what Christ did, and for which we mortals strive. He died that we might live if we so chose. But those who must live with the memories not only of dead friends but butchered enemies are the closest we, as weak, wretched beings born into this veil of tears, can ever come to knowing what Christ bore.
The memories of war are the price that the good man pays; it is out of his deep love for others that he spares them this particular agony. It is perhaps summed up best this way: Upon these two laws doth every commandment hinge-that we love God, and that we love each other. There is no better example on earth of this unconditional love than the American soldier. They would die for their friends, true, but even more heart-breaking and remarkable about such men is that they also die for enemies who have been denied freedom. And their final gift to an ungrateful nation? They quietly live and love and work and create and build this and other nations, all while carrying the soldier's burden: knowledge of what they’ve had to do so we back home wouldn't have to.
… Is the soldier man at his most base animal or most spiritual God? Is he the monster coming out in us, or the Deity weaving its way in? This is what I see when I look into the eyes of our warrior brethren. Thrown into the most horrifying concoction of man’s inhumanity to man, it is the fact that these mortals are capable of such unselfish, beautiful acts of humanity--no, Divinity--that reaches the heart and soul of those left behind in a dust-cloud of wonder. Of all God’s children, surely He must relate to and glory over the American soldier.
Greatest of all warriors on earth, the American soldier is capable of fighting fiercely, loving gently, living nobly, and forgiving totally. These are not the war-mongers that feminists and Hollywood have tried desperately to portray; these are gentle, loving creatures who want nothing more than to be free to go on living and loving. It is this desire that enables our brothers to choose to step out of their own selfish tendencies on behalf of another.
It's time to remind America of the kind of men only freedom and righteousness can grow. America used to grow such men, and I believe we can do so again.
But only if we follow that same recipe: Intact parents with a mother at home and a father supporting, manners and morals taught with loving and patient lessons of character, Bible stories and bedtime prayers and absolutely no fear to speak of God or His Son Jesus Christ, no one so pathetically Politically Castrated and nutless that their whole world falls apart at the mere mention of God (seriously people! borrow some damned balls so you'll have the courage to grow a damned brain!), the right not to believe in God and the testicular fortitude to handle it if lots of other people DO believe without resorting to "my-way-or-else" Stalinistic tactics that good men like Ricardo died to keep off of America's shores, a whole long summer away from schools and books and teachers' dirty looks, fall football games and playing your heart out and screaming yourself hoarse, repenting when you're wrong and forgiving when you're right, fair play and including others, sharing treats and innocent tricks, Squanto and the Mayflower and turkey sandwiches for a month, a baby in a manger and swaddling clothes and the brightest star ever on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus and Christmas morning and a whole 2 weeks off for Christmas, hats and horns and that yearly 10 second countdown, chocolate and flowers and construction paper hearts, Easter morning egg hunts and solemn gratitude for Gethsemene, laughter and freedom and the required discipline (which is a loving gift from a Father in Heaven who also chastises ONLY those He loves, or more likely, those who love Him.