June 6, 1944. Military forces converge on the beaches of Normandy for one
of the most decisive battles of World War Two. America would call this a victory.
History would call it D-Day. But for Captain Miller and his squad of young soldiers,
the day after the landing on Omaha Beach would change all of there lives. They
would get a special order from Washington ordering them to go on a personnel
mission to save one life. One soldier lost three of his brothers in combat. One on
Omaha Beach, one on Utah Beach, and the other in New Guinea. They realize this is
not a simple mission to save a life but a test of their honor and duty. Their sole
obsession-and their last hope for redemption.
Upon arriving at Omaha Beach Captain Miller was faced with many problems.
The Germans were awaiting the arrival of the American forces and attacked the ships
landing on the beach before the troops were even able to exit the boats. Many of
Millers men were lost on the beach along with many men from many other companies.
Miller lead his mean along a wall on the beach and over took German forces to escape
with most of this troop in tact. What he didn’t realize was that on of the men lost on
the beach was a Private Ryan.
Captain Miller continued to lead his men into enemy territory despite the loss
of some of his men. He then reached a friendly base set up. Upon arriving at the base
he received orders that his mission would be changing. He was told of the Private
Ryan that died at the Omaha beach invasion. He was also told of the other two Ryan
boys from Iowa that had already died in the war. He wasn’t really sure why he was
being told this. Then the worst part came. He was ordered to try to find the one
remaining Ryan brother. No one was sure where he was or if he was even alive. He
was told of an earlier incident where three brothers from Iowa had all been killed in
the war and the mother was left alone. The United States army was now ready to risk
the lived of Captain Miller and seven of his men to try and save this one man just so
his mother wouldn’t have to lose her only remaining son.
To Captain Miller this seemed a little extreme. Think of our mothers thought
Miller and his men. They had no choice though, they were under orders. Along the
way Millers company would stop by another American base to pick up an American
soldier to translate to the German civilians they would meet along the way. They
traveled to may abandoned and demolished remains of what used to be towns in
search of Private Ryan.
Miller lost many of his men along the way during encounters with German
paratroopers and hidden German machine gun nests. But despite loosing many men
they were able to continue. The met remaining parts of an American Paratrooping
unit along the way to somewhat replenish their forces. But the paratroopers weren’t
in much better shape than Millers bunch.
They continued in search of Ryan and finally found him in a town on the river.
He was in a patchwork infantry trying to prevent the Germans from taking a bridge
that was vital to the strategies of the United States Army. Private Ryan wouldn’t
leave with Miller though, he insisted on staying and fighting the Germans. He didn’t
want to be remembered as a coward. Miller agreed, and his men, battered and beaten,
also agreed to stay and fight one last fight before going home.
They managed to hold off the German advances until help arrived. They again
lost many men in this effort but Private Ryan survived. Captain Miller has reached his
goal and Ryan would make it home.
I thought this was a very good book. I thought it made a very good point
about some of the difficult decisions facing the men in the middle of a hostile
environment in another country and the bravery shown by many men in the heat of
battle. I can’t say if I were placed in the same position if I would be able to do the
same thing as some of those men. To risk the lives of several men to save the life of
one is a very difficult decision to make. Especially when no one even knew if Private
Ryan had even made it off the beach alive or if he was killed in battle.
I believe that if I were one of the men with the mission of saving one man just
because his the U.S. Army didn’t want to tell his mother, I would have a serious
problem with obeying those orders.