Local News

Local Vets Relive War With Private Ryan

Posted July 25, 1998

— "Saving Private Ryan" is number one with movie-goers this weekend, and reviewers are giving the film "thumbs- up" for its realistic depiction of war. But some say the film may be too realistic.

An effort to help veterans deal with what could cause a very traumatic reaction is in the works. A 24-hour hotline has been set up by the Veterans Affairs office for vets who want to call for help in dealing with their reactions to the film.

The realistic portrayal of a World War II rescue mission may be a bit too real for some veterans and their families. Counselors with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say the authentic scenes could be enough to trigger post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Retired Col. Al Alvarez is a 32 year army veteran who served in WW-II, the Korean War and Vietnam. He saw the new Tom Hanks film and says much of what he saw on screen reminded him of what he saw in action. He says he thinks the hotline is a good idea.

"I think that everyone should be warned," says Alvarez. "If you have difficulty absorbing this type of action or reaction, then naturally, stay away from [the movie]"

Alvarez agrees with some other veterans that the film is the most authentic war film they've ever seen.

"This movie is very brutal," says Alvarez. "The first 30 minutes is extremely traumatic."

Younger soldiers left the theater with a different perspective.

"Well, it was kind of graphic, but go to war. It's graphic," said Fort Bragg soldier Bruce Meyers.

"It gave me more appreciation of my job in case we have to go to war," said Fort Bragg soldier Kim Armstrong.

A spokesperson for the national hotline said over 200 calls came in from people disturbed by the film during the first three hours the line was open.

The national hotline was only open until 9 p.m. Sunday, but a similar service, on a local level, may open up this week.

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