Poetic and Proud NH Premiere of The War Tapes
On Thursday, June 22 at 7pm, The War Tapes premiered in the state's capitol Concord, New Hampshire at the Capitol Center for the Performing Arts to a near sell-out crowd.
When the lights came up after the movie, Zack Bazzi, Steve Pink, Mike Moriarty, Mike Pride, Greg Heilshorn, Chuck Lacy and I walked to the front of the theater to begin our Q & A. Thunderous applause and a standing ovation accompanied us. There had been close to 1,000 people in the audience.
We sat on the stage in folding metal chairs looking at and scanning the crowd. Each of us knew many people there. There were many familiar nods and smiles and waves as we settled in. After a brief introduction by Mike Pride, the editor of The Concord Monitor newspaper, the first question from the audience came from a mother who wanted to know what she could do to help her son who had recently returned from Iraq. Her son didn't want to talk much about his experiences, she said. Give him time and lots of space, but let him know that you are there for him, each of the three soldiers suggested. Next up at one of the two standing microphones was a Vietnam veteran troubled by what he viewed were parallels between this war and Vietnam. Mike, Steve and Zack each reached out to this man saying how hard they found it that the American public had at one time turned their back on soldiers.
At the very end, came one moment that will forever be etched in my memory (and I'm sure everyone else's who was there). In fact, it came after the end – after Mike Pride had closed the questioning and the final applause had died away. People began to stand up and talk among themselves, then just as the crowd's chatter swelled, it paused and diminished to quiet again as a very powerfully built man with short hair came to the microphone in the right hand aisle. The entire crowd hushed all the way down to silence. Everyone was still, all eyes in the room looked at him.The man identified himself only as a Marine and explained that Marines don’t follow the same rules as everyone else. The Marine said he had only one thing to say to the soldiers on stage and he stood to attention, and drew his right hand to his brow in a salute. After holding the salute for what seemed an eternity, he crisply turned and walked back up the aisle and melted into the crowd. I went to look for him, but he was gone.