‘Saving Private Ryan’ is one of those rare movies which I may have caught probably a dozen times. And it breaks me every time I watch the bridge scene at the end where a mortally wounded Captain Miller is feebly uttering to Private Ryan – “James…earn this…earn it…”, a grim reminder that he was saved by his men against heavy odds, and now he mustn’t take this privilege for granted as long as he lives.
Many years later, a visibly tearful and fragile James Ryan, accompanied by his loving family, is standing next to the gravesite of Captain Miller and asking for the departed soul’s acceptance of a cherished life bestowed upon him. His profound words hit me hard every time I hear it:
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.
It’s such a truly, contemplative quote from the movie.