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Edward Kivlahan February 26, 2018

The In Their Boots Film Festival took place February 26 at 6:30 pm. It showed a multitude of short films detailing the lives of soldiers and veterans through theatrical means. It began with Sean Taylor speaking about the upcoming In My Boots 5k, and then the floor was given to Randy Brown. He spoke about veterans and how not all have PTSD, but nonetheless it is hard to transition from an intense wartime lifestyle to civilian life. His journey was difficult, but through it he has come to speak out and work to inform the public about veterans’ affairs and how to effectively support returning troops.

The first film shown was A Marine’s Guide To Fishing, a film detailing a scenario those coming home with PTSD know all too well. The main character was a mechanic overseas and upon returning home decided to use his skills for his civilian work as well. Memories surfaced of his staff sergeant yelling at him and the tension being high. This overtook him for a bit and others helped him come to, but he knew he needed to do something to help keep his life calm. He chose to do this through fishing.

The second film was a collection of actual veterans’ stories presented in a theatre production. Their introductions told of how they all entered the military. Mr. Taylor entered by using an age waiver and served, and Mr. Brown enlisted in no small part due to the legacy nature of the military and his family. The next performance discussed how after leaving, he flew to Dubai and was greeted by a man whom he had served under not very long before who then hugged him. He commented on how when enlisted, the clothing and the transportation and the scheduling were all taken care of by Uncle Sam, but when one was a civilian, he suddenly had a mountain of things to manage on his own. When he landed in Dubai, he felt naked; he felt like he was the only one not wearing camouflage.

Day One, the final film shown, was a story of an interpreter who lost an ally to an IED and during a village raid, was forced to deliver a baby to a dying mother. The trauma of watching the mother die after falling over from a careless scuffle took her off balance framed the joy of seeing a new life born. The child’s day one was painful to the woman who was to take care of her from there on, but in the bittersweet ending, the audience could see a light in her eye.

The festival as a whole was powerful, with each film providing a unique perspective on the military experience and the intensity that comes with it. All readers are encouraged to participate in and/or sponsor the In My Boots 5k. The run will take place on Saturday, April 14.