Our society has never outwardly been more pro-military. I'm constantly surprised by military discounts from various retailers and vendors. Being in the Guard, I don't often wear my uniform, but when I do, someone is sure to thank me for my service.
I think this is largely a function of how remote military culture is from the broader population. In 1946, military culture was popular culture. A given veterans a discount was basically a price cut, which few businesses could afford. Now, the gesture doesn't carry anything like the same financial impact.
Twelve O'Clock High was filmed in an era when veterans were plentiful and it deals with the human cost of war in a unique way - from the perspective of a command team in charge of a US Army Air Force bomber group. Gregory Peck plays a staff officer temporarily detailed to restore the morale and skill of a troubled outfit.
Like many war movies, the story isn't as important as the way it unfolds. That's the case here. It isn't a surprise when Peck - like the man he replaced - pushes himself too hard and start to come unglued. Rather, it's a reminder that we all have a limit.
There is a tradeoff between experience and what they used to call combat fatigue. It's like over-sharpening a blade - too much of anything can make things worse.
Twelve O'Clock High demonstrates that tradeoff, which makes it one of the most important of the old war movies I've been watching. They teach about history, but Twelve O'Clock High offers valuable lessons for today's leaders.