POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERTS
Best movie line: " I don't know but it's never the lie."
This movie calling out the lie may seem disrespectful to the military but the movie also circles back and shows that the characters come to understand that this lie could also be an act of compassion when they themselves later meet up with the mother of a fallen buddy.
I watched my daughter die a terrifying agonizing death in a hospital and then caught the hospital team in a lie totally by happenstance. The discovery of a lie can send the grieving on a long horrible journey for the truth. Forcing them to relive and relive and relive the life shattering memories, either what they witnessed or the visions of the little they've been told or know or imagine until they are satisfied they know the whole truth. In this search for truth, there is no reward only more pain until it's over.
This movie asks questions but i don't think it dictated the answers. The son was buried in his uniform and all are proud of their military service. The brotherhood they share, despite their differences, is an inspiration.
Would it have been so awful to say to their buddy's Mom, "He didn't die saving our lives. But in life, he enriched ours so much that 30 years later he lives in our hearts every day. We are here visiting you because we wanted you to know that his memory continues to inspire the loyal brotherhood he selflessly shared with all of us during his life."
..but even after what I've been through, I'm not sure of the answer to my own question.
Asking questions is an American responsibility. Should we lie about or shroud the circumstances of death for any reason? This movie asks that question.
Let us all be reminded to support our troops every way we can when they get home.