On this day, 69 years ago, Allied forces invaded the German-controlled coastline of Normandy, France. By air and sea, the “Greatest Generation” stormed the beaches and faced the enemy. Despite heavy loss of life, the mission was successful, marking the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
In 2004, the National WWII Memorial opened in Washington, D.C., to pay tribute to these brave servicemen and –women for their sacrifice for freedom. By the time the memorial was a reality, many of these veterans had either passed away or grown too old to travel.
The nonprofit Honor Flight Network is an organization created solely to honor our country’s veterans and help them get them to the memorial free of charge, while they are still able to travel.
In May, nearly 200 residents and prospective residents at Greenspring, an Erickson Living Community in Springfield, Va., attended the screening of the documentary, Honor Flight: One Last Mission. The film is a heartwarming story about a Midwestern community and its efforts to send its veterans to visit the National WWII Memorial.
The film’s producer, Clay Broga, was on hand to provide behind-the-scenes commentary and answer questions from the audience. “The screening of Honor Flight at Greenspring was really special," Broga told Greenspring after the event, "We are always honored to show the film to WWII veterans and members of the Greatest Generation. In fact, I became unexpectedly emotional when talking to them. It was a humbling and powerful experience," says Broga.
Greenspring is home to not only WWII veterans, but also those who served in Korea and Vietnam. Because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., a group Greenspring veterans visited the memorial in December 2012 and participated in a “Meet the Veterans” video project and had the opportunity to tell their stories.
“I realized that I hadn’t really sat down with my kids, my grandkids or even my wife, and shared much of what I experience during the war," says Eck Muessig, who participated in the video project and was also at the screening.
The screening of the award-winning Honor Flight was the first to take place at a retirement community. The DVD was released to the public this week.
Does your community organize an event to honor its veterans? Let me know what unique celebrations you have planned. This might be a good time to give it some thought. Remember. Veteran’s Day is November 11.