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Be inspired by the ‘Devotion’ of Jesse Brown

Fr. Edward Looney - published on 11/25/22

New feature film follows the true story of the first US aviator of color and his fierce devotion to his family, friends, and vocation.

For fans of Top Gun: Maverick, another aviator movie releases in theaters on November 23 called Devotion. Catholics hearing the movie is titled Devotion might immediately think that it is a religious film. Catholicism is, after all, filled with many devotions to Jesus (like the Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy), to Mary, and the saints. 

The movie Devotionis based on the book by Adam Makos and relates the story of Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in the U.S. Navy, and his friendship with pilot Tom Hudner. The film doesn’t display any religious devotion, but it does give us a glimpse into the other definition of devotion, that of love, loyalty, or enthusiasm. And its portrayal will leave you with a deeper desire to live devotedly to the people you love in your life. Here are a few ways devotedness was displayed in the film.

Devoted as friends

Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown quickly become acquainted in the first minutes of Devotion. In the beginning their friendship was a bit rocky, but by the movie’s end the devotedness of Tom to Jesse will leave the viewer in tears. It was important for Tom to meet Jesse’s wife when he dropped him off, because he wanted to see for whom Jesse would be fighting to return home. Tom made a promise to his wife to be there for Jesse throughout the war, and it was a promise Tom would keep.

Devoted as a band of brothers

The group of brothers that would become aviators in the Korean War truly were devoted to one another. As a man of color, Jesse Brown experienced a lot of racist comments and exclusion. In one scene, a fellow aviator was asked by a person about the “colored aviator.” Instead of engaging in that conversation, he changed the topic right away. As a band of brothers, they came to the defense of Jesse and defended him against hateful words and actions. 

Devoted to his job

To be an aviator takes a lot of hard work and study. Jesse was devoted to being the best that he could be in his work by dedicating time to study the aircraft. Even amid adversity because of his color, he remained devoted to wanting to fly. In one scene, Jesse relates that someone from the academy would not even pin his wings at graduation. He could have easily given up and chosen not to fly because of that, but he remains devoted to the task and fight at hand. 

Devoted to his wife

The most evident and profound devotedness of Jesse’s life was to his wife, Daisy. The theatrical portrayal of their love in the home before his deployment makes this obvious. Jesse was always thinking of his wife and would write touching letters to her. He signed each letter as “Your devoted husband, Lovingly and Completely Yours.” He remained devoted to his wife until the end, as a viewer will see when watching the movie. 

The devotedness of Jesse Brown to his job as an aviator, to his brothers, and to his country earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross award posthumously. As the world learns the story of this devoted American hero, we can let it renew our own personal devotion to family and friends, to God and work. Stories like Jesse’s are meant to inspire, and when the credits roll on the screen, certainly you will have been inspired.

Catholic LifestyleEntertainmentMoviesVirtue
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