Steps to a Story: Unexpected Inspiration

Last night I watched 60 Minutes.  One of the stories was that of Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, who is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.  His story resonated with Matthew’s story, though I didn’t recognize it as such at first.  Once I realized how closely it was related, I paid attention and even grabbed a notebook to write down some thoughts.

The unit that SSG Giunta was part of was ambushed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Several of the men in their unit acted with bravery, and Giunta risked his life by running headlong at two Taliban fighters carrying off a wounded American soldier.  (The man also happened to be good friends with Giunta, although he didn’t know who the Taliban had at first.)  By running at them and firing on them, Giunta was able to prevent the enemy fighters from taking an American hostage.

Listening to the many soldiers interviewed for the 60 Minutes piece gave me a couple of important insights for Matthew’s story, as well as inspiration for the big fight scene in the story.  I got to hear the impressions and descriptions that the soldiers had of the situation, what they experienced and remember.  The biggest thing that I took from the interview, though, is SSG Giunta’s response to the whole thing.  He was very humble about it all, surprised at being singled out for honor, and even called himself a mediocre soldier.  This is what I want to capture in Matthew’s character: willingness to do whatever it takes for a fellow soldier, and a spirit that is unable to see the heroics that everyone else recognizes.

I never know where I will find inspiration, but I’m always open to it when it comes.  🙂