Written, acted, and directed by my friend, Jimmy Driscoll, it was my privilege to come alongside and help get "The Fence" produced. We did our best to tell the Gold Star Family story, even though none but a few of the combat Veterans who helped us could speak to the experience first-hand.
Yet by virtue of Jimmy's talent and soul, and the Grace of God, we pulled it off, and folks in the Gold Star Family Community agreed. So much so that we were invited to show the movie all during Memorial Day Weekend 2015 at the "Women In Service To America" Memorial Theather, which stands at the very front entrance of Arlington National Cemetery.
While we are still shopping our short-form "Indie" for the Big Screen, we know we will have done something right - when a Gold Star Spouse, Parent, or Sibling, whose losses spanned seven generations from "War II" to Afghanistan and in-between, is hugging, thanking you and some gently sobbing, for helping tell a story that cannot be understood by those of us who have not made that Sacrifice. That is a currency that "spends" in a very special way. And even if nothing else was to come from making "The Fence," Jimmy, crew, actors, and I were paid in something Eternal.
As Al Pacino famously says in the dramatic Auditorium "Hearing" scene, from "Scent of a Woman": "There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for that." Jimmy understood this from the beginning - we could not tell the first-person story, but we could do our very best to hold up the heart and souls of others.
This goes to the very core of what you see in everything that we do at CauseACTION, and the call-to-action we encourage those of you who may be part of what we are charged with... because we can. And we must.
This is what we could reasonably expect from filming and releasing our Indie on such a difficult subject. We have not yet sold it for the "Big Screen" and the truth is, we may never be able to. But we know that the story will have played quietly on thousands of smaller screens of the heart and the soul. That brings us an odd kind of Joy.... the joy of knowing you may have made a difference for someone or maybe even many that is Eternal.
So, when you see us and join us on CauseBOOK, at Clarion News or the Life Envelope Day and Stop Child Porn on Social Media Campaigns, our media Embeds in Iraq and Afghanistan for the HonorBound TV initiative, we want to encourage you to do what you can as the opportunities to "move a needle" cross your path. They are there. You are no less capable. Do not let yourself be deterred because you think you don't know "this" or "that." Do not think of yourself as less than able to do your part, either quietly or out in the open.
For this much, I can promise you - as a CauseACTION Team and with others on the edges of our Team, we do know some things quite well, but the "Nay-Sayer Spirit" almost always shows up in some form or another.
Yes, we were quite anxious about making a movie about the Gold Star Family experience. That was sacred ground, and we knew it. Make a mistake on a story like that, and it can be grievously harmful. Some even challenged us and asked what "right" we had to do such a thing.
And I promise you that about a dozen people thought we were out of our minds when we proposed to the Pentagon that we embed into Iraq and Afganistan, to tell a different Warfighter's story, called "HonorBound." There were at least a dozen times as we ran the security gauntlet (about one hour long) from the Pentagon parking lot, through a half-dozen detectors, pat-downs, and very direct probing questions by heavily-armed MPs.
As we proceeded through these checkpoints, I remember replaying in my head, the scene from the "Wizard of Oz" and the panicked Cowardly Lion.
There is that moment, when in a loud voice, with flames and smoke bursting forth, that the Wizard shouts at Dorothy and her small troupe, as they stand before him, pleading - "I said, no. Now, go"... and before The Wizard has even finished, the Cowardly Lion panics, runs, and escapes by crashing through a Palace window.
We all have those moments where we are challenged to the point of fear and paralysis. The gentle morale of this
Stars: Jimmy Driscoll, Lou Martini (The Sopranos), and a number of local Amateur Actors, a great "Post" Video Editor and a half-dozen (Iraq) combat Veterans from Connecticut's National Guard and Reserve Unit.
Duration: 42 minutes