Captain John H. Miller - Saving Private Ryan
At its heart American patriotism is an endeavor. Our freedom wasn't secured by warriors. It was won by farmers and teachers and merchants. Regular Joes who accepted the mantle of soldier for cause and country. They're not mythic. They're not Jack Bauer. They're us. Captain Miller is Mr. Smith if he went to war instead of Washington, but there's nothing that credits him more than the heartfelt, doleful monologue he delivers to his men halfway through the film:
"I teach English composition... in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it's a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I'll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. The man means nothing to me. It's just a name. But if... You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that's my mission. You want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right. All right. I won't stop you. I'll even put in the paperwork. I just know that every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel."