Hold At All Costs

In discussion about a possible editing gig,  Glenn Palmedo-Smith told me about a film of his that was shown on PBS on or around Memorial Day 2011. The film is called Hold At All Costs and is about the battle for Outpost Harry during the Korean War. Palmedo-Smith sent me a link to the film’s trailer, which has certainly intrigued me. Having seen the entire film now, I can recommend it wholeheartedly. It is informative, gripping, and touching in the most unexpected ways.

A brief history of the battle for Outpost Harry. During the eight-day battle, five United Nations Command companies, four U.S. and one Greek, defended the hill in the Iron Triangle near Seoul from the attack of some 13,000 Chinese soldiers, under orders to “hold at all costs,” not knowing that the Chinese soldiers had been told to take the hill “at all costs.” And thus, eight days of hell ensued, with most of the fighting taking place at night. In the film, survivors from both sides of the conflict talk about the horrors of the week and reflect upon its meaning. The film ends with images of South Korean today, a land the UN had estimated it would take 100 years to rebuild. The closing credits include the names of those killed in the battle for Outpost Harry. The American list is long, the Greek list short, the South Korean list longer, and the list of Chinese names grows as the credits advance, until ten columns of names in tiny Chinese script fill the screen. Horrifying.

This is an excellent film about a war that was forgotten or ignored for too long by a country whose leaders called its young men to give their lives on that foreign soil. I highly recommend it if you can find it on television (PBS showed it over the Memorial Day weekend).

The interesting thing about all of this is that I doubt that I would ever have encountered this film had it not been for my initial contact with Palmedo-Smith concerning editing on a different project, completely separate from the film. Again, I am delighted and amazed by the connections I make through my job, by the new horizons that open to me.

Providence? I’m thinking, yes.

One thing leads to another when you are a writer with curiosity about and interest in the world around you. To all writers out there, I say keep your eyes and ears open. You never know from where your next gem of inspiration might arise.

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