'The ones that didn't come back are the heroes'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Some Oregon showings of a new movie to help World War Two veterans go to their national memorial, may have to be scrubbed.
That is, unless ticket sales pick up rapidly.
No fancy posters for this flick; no Oscar nominations either.
But for vets from The Greatest Generation, it's an undisputed winner.
Honor Flights is the group dedicated to flying World War Two vets, free, to see their national memorial in Washington, DC.
Now, a new feature film, "Honor Flight-One Last Mission," is trying to raise awareness and money for the program. The movie follows 4 vets from Wisconsin and their stories of heroism.
"It shows them being interviewed as they prepare to go on their honor flight; follows them through the actual honor flight experience in Washington D.C., so the viewers will get to go back," explains Mike Pungercar, regional director of Honor Flights for the south Willamette Valley.
The movie is sold out in Springfield at Cinemark 17 later this week, but Pungercar says the showings in Albany and Corvallis may have to be cancelled.
It's because ticket "pre-sales" are lagging, with deadlines this week to guarantee their showings. Proceeds from a portion of sales would help pay for future Honor Flights from Oregon, before it's too late.
KVAL's Tom Adams asked Pungercar, "How fast are we losing them?"
"Across the country the numbers I hear are anywhere from 1,100 to 1,300 a day," says Pungercar.
"I'm probably one of the youngest veterans. I'm only 88," says Springfield resident, Gene Troyer.
Troyer was a flight engineer on C-47's and B-25 bombers in the Army Air Corps (June 1942 to the end of 1945).
He went on an Honor Flight last fall. Troyer recalls when his jet landed at Dulles Airport in October and adds, "A little girl, 7 years old walked up and said,
'May I shake your hand and thank you?' Ah, it still..." as Gene's voice choked with emotion.
Unforgettable memories Troyer hopes more Oregon vets will get to experience.
Tickets to see "Honor Flight-One Last Mission" are 10 dollars a piece, and the local Honor Flights chapter will get to keep 5 percent of the sales.