OB40mukEXQ6QZ1740xdjwF1LEQ4 Quote to Remember: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN [1998]


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The Mission Is A Man

I have a letter here, written a long time ago, to a Mrs. Bixby in Boston. So bear with me. 
"Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. 
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. 
But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. 
I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. 
Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln." 
[General George C. Marshall]

I don't know. 
Part of me thinks the kid's right. He asks what he's done to deserve this. 
He wants to stay here, fine. Let's leave him and go home. 
But then another part of me thinks, what if by some miracle we stay, then actually make it out of here. 
Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, shitty mess. 
Like you said, Captain, maybe we do that, we all earn the right to go home. 
[Sergeant Horvath]

I'm a schoolteacher. I teach English composition... in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. 
The last eleven years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. 
I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. 
Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. 
But over here, it's a big, a big mystery. 
So, I guess I've changed some. 
Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. 
And how I'll ever be able to tell her about days like today. 
Ah, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. 
The man means nothing to me. It's just a name. 
But if... You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. 
If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that's my mission. 
[to Private Reiben]
You want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right. All right. I won't stop you. 
I'll even put in the paperwork. 
I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel. 
[Captain Miller]

[Captain Miller]: You see, when... when you end up killing one your men, you see, you tell yourself it happened so you could save the lives of two or three or ten others. 
Maybe a hundred others. 
Do you know how many men I've lost under my command? 
[Sergeant Horvath]: How many?
[Captain Miller]: Ninety-four. 
But that means I've saved the lives of ten times that many, doesn't it? 
Maybe even 20, right? Twenty times as many? 
And that's how simple it is. 
That's how you... that's how you rationalize making the choice between the mission and the man. 

[Captain Miller]: James Francis Ryan of Iowa?
[Private Ryan]: Yes, sir. Paton, Iowa, that's correct. What is this about? 
[Captain Miller]: Your brothers were killed in combat. 
[Private Ryan]: Which - Which ones? 
[Captain Miller]: All of them. 

[Private Ryan, being told he can go home]: Hell, these guys deserve to go home as much as I do. 
They've fought just as hard.
[Captain Miller]: Is that what I'm supposed to tell your mother when she gets another folded American flag? 
[Private Ryan]: You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. 
And that there was no way I was deserting them. 
I think she'd understand that.

[Old James Ryan, addressing Capt. Miller's grave]: My family is with me today. 
They wanted to come with me. 
To be honest with you, I wasn't sure how I'd feel coming back here. 
Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. 
I tried to live my life the best that I could. 
I hope that was enough. 
I hope that, at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me. 
[Ryan's wife]: James?... [looking at headstone] Captain John H Miller.
[Old James Ryan]: Tell me I have led a good life.
[Ryan's wife]: What? 
[Old James Ryan]: Tell me I'm a good man.
[Ryan's wife]: You 'are'.


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