“…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The movie began with pure, innocent voices of schoolchildren joyfully reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. And as the final words of the Pledge resounded throughout the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, Tennessee, an expectant silent hush fell over the crowd. Somehow, the children’s recitation of those iconic words contrasted the reality of what was to come.
Those of us poised and waiting to watch the premiere of Indivisible knew this movie (and the true story behind it) portrayed the harsh reality of those words. We had read the script synopsis and watched the movie trailer. We knew what to expect.
And yet, we wondered if we were brave enough to watch our service men and women pledge their honor, their service, their families, and their very lives to ensure our liberty and justice. Could we handle the truth of Indivisible?
That was and is a very good question. But, before I give you my answer, let’s explore the background of this movie.
Dr. David Evans and his wife Esther live in Memphis, where he is well-known for the production of a local Christmas pageant that began at Calvary Church in Cordova, Tennessee. After fifteen years, the small church pageant grew into an elaborate city-wide event that drew thousands of spectators each year. As the years progressed, so did the size of the cast, the technology behind the pageant, as well as its costumes and props – with exotic animals the crowds especially loved.
Then, in 2008, Dr. Evans, an optometrist by trade, watched the movie Fireproof, and was impacted and convicted to begin producing similar movies. Released in 2010, his first work was the feature film The Grace Card, starring Lou Gossett, Jr.
A short time later, Evans connected with Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. After hearing the Turners’ story of how their rock-solid marriage had been shaken and almost broken by the chaplain’s wartime experiences in Iraq during 2007, Evans knew he had found the subject of his next movie.
He felt compelled to share the dark reality of life for our military veterans when they come back from a war, battered and broken both inside and out. Evans also wanted to portray the responsibilities of military spouses, the burdens they bear all alone. But he especially wanted to share the hope of Christ available for any battle of life.
So, Evans took his idea to his pastor at Calvary Church. Pastor Lynn Holmes was onboard with the project immediately. As the father of a military veteran, it was a story close to his heart as well. The greenlights continued with the church’s Calvary Pictures ministry team, as well as several financial backers who all agreed this was a story that needed to be told.
Unfortunately, the Army was not quite so sure. And since Darren Turner was still on active duty with the Army, they had to grant permission for release of the film.
As they waited on that military permission, Evans and his team began to go ahead and make the movie by faith, believing that in His perfect timing, God would make a way for the world to view this story. Now, six years later, Indivisible will finally be released in theaters on October 26, 2018.
So there I sat on October 2, listening to those precious voices of children reciting the Pledge, feeling very blessed and privileged to be part of the world premiere of Indivisible.
And let me say, it was well worth the wait. I laughed, I cried, and I reminisced on my years long ago as an Air Force wife. I remembered just how difficult those days had been and how much I treasured the other women who shared those moments with me. But I realized I really had no clue how much harder it would have been to send my husband off to war, dreading every late-night call or unexpected knock on the door.
And I understood, for perhaps the first time, how deeply PTSD affects every single member of a family. I watched as actors portrayed the truth of just how hard the enemy is working to divide and conquer our troops, our nation, and our families.
So, without spilling any more of the movie’s plot, let me tell you my favorite part of my red-carpet, gala premiere experience. I enjoyed dressing up, I enjoyed seeing others decked out in their black-tie finery, I enjoyed meeting the real-life Turner family, and I enjoyed meeting many of the movie’s actors and actresses. But my very favorite part was meeting the loudest and purest little voice from the movie’s opening recitation of the Pledge.
Her name is Aubrey Woodson, and she is seven years old. With her long, dark curls and her beautiful, midnight blue gown, she absolutely looked like a princess. Her mom explained to me that Aubrey knows the Pledge so well and it means so much to her because her daddy is an active duty serviceman and her stepdad is a veteran.
I will never forget Aubrey or her precious voice reciting our Pledge. She represents the truth of Indivisible. And like every other child in this country, Aubrey deserves to live in an America that truly is “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Go to indivisiblemovie.com for more details.
Darren & Heather Turner (not the actors)
Aubrey Woodson and her Mom