As shown on a recent “CBS This Morning” segment, when Jesse, Luke, Erik and John were stationed together in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005, they stumbled upon a DVD boxset of the second season of the series and immediately gravitated toward the world of Stars Hollow.
The idyllic Connecticut setting, heartwarming storylines and the focus on friends and family provided a much-needed escape from the horrors of war they experienced outside the military base.
“At least for me, Stars Hollow was the America I think we all thought — we all wished we were fighting for,” Erik told CBS.
“Gilmore Girls” became a central part of their friendship over the years, prompting the veterans to show their appreciation in an emotional letter to showrunners Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel Palladino.
“Part of the attraction is a simple case of contrasts. I live in a strict, macho, sometimes violent world that very often does not make sense,” Luke says in the clip, breaking down while rereading the letter. “In the end, much of the entertainment is escapism. And for me and a few friends over here in Iraq, there’s no place we’d rather escape to. It reminds us of all the best parts of home.”
The recent Netflix revival of the series provided the perfect excuse for the unit to reunite years after they returned from war and the opportunity for a surprise phone call from the Palladinos during their binge-watching session.
“I have actually kept the letter in my various desks over the years, always,” Amy admitted. “So it’s been very close to me.”
Although Jesse, Luke, Erik and John couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the Gilmore girls in the revival, the real gift, they say, was being able to spend time together again.
“While we are going to watch the ‘Gilmore Girls’ and that’s a huge part of it and we’re very, very excited for this revival, the reality was, we just need to get together,” Erik said. “We need excuses to get together. We need excuses to remember.”