Third Century | Marcus Luttrell

posted on May 17, 2015

From the age of 14, Marcus Luttrell’s dream was to defend his country as a Navy SEAL. But wounds sustained in combat resulted in his medical retirement, and he found himself back in the United States. 

Not long after his return, he learned that details of the ambush on SEAL Team 10 during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan had been declassified—and he knew if he didn’t tell their story, someone else would.

The book “Lone Survivor” became a best-seller and was made into a movie with the same name, but Luttrell wasn’t finished giving back to those who gave everything. He has since established the Lone Survivor Foundation to honor the legacy of his fallen team members, and to provide hope and help to other wounded veterans.

I never wanted to be a celebrity. I’ve never sought the spotlight. In fact, all I really ever wanted was to be a Navy SEAL and serve my country in as honorable of manner as I possibly could.

Sometimes, though, things don’t turn out the way you planned.

My book, “Lone Survivor,” reached a large audience, and I’m grateful for that. Now the movie is doing the same. Hollywood was going to make the movie with or without us, so I became involved to make sure my fallen brothers were honored. I’m very grateful the movie stayed true to the story and honored them in the special way they deserved.

To be honest, I don’t really keep up with the book or the movie, and how they are doing. If people take to them, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s OK, too. I’m not worried about audience numbers. I’m not worried about reviews.

But when I hear some people say the movie might be somehow “pro-war,” I don’t even know what they’re talking about. To me, that’s like going to watch a movie about firefighters and saying they are “pro-fire.” We were over there doing our job—nothing more, nothing less—and the movie simply tells that story. I hope everyone can respect that.

“Lone Survivor” is a story of great men dying like the true warriors they were. It was a violent death, but it was a good death. It was a fight ’til the last breath. What other way to go is there, than in a pile of brass with your boots on, with your buddies? That’s a warrior’s death! 

Serving your country in the military is an honorable thing, and I’m very proud of my service. I knew when I was in Afghanistan that I was really fighting for the freedoms we enjoy every day here at home. And every man and woman who still wears the uniform is fighting for those same freedoms.

It’s not popular to say this these days, but since I’ve never been politically correct, I’ll say it: America truly is an exceptional nation. The freedoms we enjoy here are not by accident. The Founding Fathers had a good plan—a plan that set protections for our freedoms like no other country enjoys. That plan has stood the test of time.

But never forget the fact that our continued freedom has been paid for—time, and time, and time again—by the blood of patriots, the blood of warriors willing to lay down their lives to protect it. That includes those guys who paid the ultimate price that day on a mountain in Afghanistan. They died for your freedom—and for mine. They didn’t die in vain. They died doing the job they loved, alongside men they loved.

Now my focus has changed from fighting for my country to spending more time with my wife, Melanie, and our young children. It’s a vastly different life from being a SEAL. But it’s truly a satisfying one—one I wouldn’t trade for the world.


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