(Article courtesy of Tactical Life)

“In our time, no foreign army has ever occupied American soil. Until now.”

I can still recite those words, and the first time I read them was in early August of 1984—off at college and cycling between part-time jobs and full-time studies. Ronald Reagan was our president then, and like many single graduate students, I didn’t have a lot of spare change. But I went to see the movie Red Dawn on opening day, and it made a big impression on me. Enemy paratroopers falling from the sky, teenage boys and girls holding off Russian invaders, living off the land in the mountains of Colorado and, of course, the guns onscreen. One of those guns sat next to me as I wrote this.

I grew up with WWII television shows like Combat! always on the screen, and being part of a military family, I had spent five years out on bases on a small island in the Pacific—Okinawa. I was used to seeing M1 Garands and M1 Carbines, and I owned examples of each. But to see actual AK-47 rifles in the hands of teenage actors on the silver screen was something I hadn’t expected. One of the stranger things about the film was that it was the first PG-13 film released in America. Looking back, the violence on the screen for that film was nowhere near what we get on network TV these days.

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