When I was in Indianapolis last October I was in a hotel room with some other filmmakers and the subject of war movies came up. I think it was because Flags of our Father had just been released that week. One of the guys, Ryan Little, had all ready made a war movie, Saints and Soldiers. While another was talking about making one about his grandfather, who recieved the medal of honour. In fact it was the fastest medal of honour ever to be given out because he was dying. I think some of the family members actually stole it so he could have it!
I often wondered whether or not I would want to make a war movie. Although I love war movies I always felt too far away from the subject to tackle it. I've lead a sheltered life, a soft life, full of comforts and pleasures and living in warmth with a roof over my head and food in my belly, what would I know about war? So I figured no, I wouldn't even try, I mean how could I understand it?
But after that conversation with the boys the thought lingered in my head. Would I? Could I? Perhaps I don't have a personal experience, perhaps I can find a story worthy of telling.
But I still needed something, something more to draw me in. I was never one of those kids who was obsessed with war and guns and plains and tanks. Then something unusual happened. I found out that my uncle was researching the geneology of our family and he had discovered that his grandfather, my great grandfather was in the dundalk fucialeers and fought in World War I.
I thought this was fascinating. So I called him up and it turns out that he did fight in the war and not only that he died on the battle field at Galipolli. In fact there is a war memorial down town with his name on it. I never realised that, I passed it everyday and never paid any attention to it and all this time it was honouring my great grandfather.
So I have begun my research and hopefully someday I will be able to tell his story. I thought finding out it was worthy of telling anyway!
I've started reading Field of Bones: An Irish Division at Galipolli. I don't know if he's in it, but strangely enough there is a mention of a Patrick Kelly (His name) and it referes to a place called churchtown, where he came from. My family lived on church street... I wonder?