Film honoring WWII vets aims for world-record premiere at ballpark

posted at 3:21 pm on August 8, 2012 by Rob Bluey

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s screening of “Honor Flight” at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, which would break the world record for a film premiere. The feature-length documentary chronicles the stories of World War II veterans who made their way to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorial built in their honor.

The free trips are made possible by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. More than 1,000 veterans from Wisconsin have already made the journey. There are two more flights scheduled for later this year. For many, it’s their first time in Washington and possibly the last trip they’ll make.

The success of the film’s trailer was phenomenal, as Tina Korbe wrote on Hot Air last year. Now that it’s coming to the big screen — or, in this case, the JumboTron — the local community has responded. More than 32,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s premiere, which will be attended by approximately 400 veterans from the Greatest Generation. Tickets are still available at $11 each.

Here’s the trailer:

The current Guinness world record for attendance at a movie premiere is 27,022. It was set in 2010 at the screening of a soccer documentary in Brazil. Even with some no-shows, “Honor Flight” appears likely to break the record. Guinness will be on hand Saturday.

Dan Hayes and Clay Broga, the filmmakers from Freethink Media who took on the project, are two of the most talented storytellers I know. I’ve had the opportunity to work with them on several projects over the past couple years. Here’s what they told me when I asked about the film:

The more we have gotten into the Honor Flight story, the more it has taken on a life of its own. First, making the film has changed our lives. The World War II veterans we befriended have given us perspective. We’ve gained an even greater appreciation for freedom, family and life — particularly for life in this country. And, now, the response from the people — 4.5 million views on the trailer through Facebook and over 31,000 people packing a stadium this weekend for the film’s world premiere, we’re just completely thrilled and humbled. The few people we’ve shown the film to have been deeply moved by it. And that’s always been our goal: to reach as many people with the film as possible and positively change their worldviews and lives, just like it did for us.

This film certainly has that potential. Most of us know (or knew) a World War II veteran. People like Julian Plaster, who stars in the film and was the subject of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story last week:

Julian Plaster was thrilled to see the World War II Memorial and loved walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

But at Arlington National Cemetery, when the other World War II veterans on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight last year watched the changing of the guard ceremony, Plaster stayed on the bus.

Seeing so many graves was too much for the Milwaukee man.

Plaster, 88, was a Navy cook in the Pacific. He also was a member of the detail that buried the bodies of friends and foes alike on long forgotten islands.

One day in February 1944, on linked islands called Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll, Plaster and his colleagues were strafed by Japanese planes, which blew up the U.S. ammunition dump, killing many Americans.

“There were six of us in my tent and the next day there were only three. When you have to bury your friends, it stays with you,” said Plaster.

Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey


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God bless all these wonderful men women still with us from WW11. There are precious few left and daily less and less.

I hope people comes out to help with this ‘world record’!
L

letget on August 8, 2012 at 3:25 PM

1st and in all sincerity God bless you, your friends we’ve lost to time already since the war, and most of all the friends you lost during the war…..

Salute

that said, if the WW2 Gen plays the stunt NASA did about the mars landing and starts gushing about thanking Barack for allowing us to win WW2 when he was not born yet I am quitting watching TV forever….

harlekwin15 on August 8, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I wish I could attend this screening. My late father is a WWII veteran, and my mom sent a lot of money to help build the memorial. Among many thousands of others there, my dad is a listed honoree at the memorial.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thank you, Tom Hanks, for being such a big motivator to have the Memorial built.

Thank you, Greatest Generation–every soldier in the field and every Rosie the Riveter–for keeping us free.

Liam on August 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Holy smokes…this looks to be awesome!!!

Really hope there is absolutely NO politicization of this…from any side…

BigWyo on August 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I’d love to attend as well!! But anyone can have a front row seat. Just sign up to attend a Welcome Home Ceremony in your area. There’s nothing like it!

Thank you to all the WWII veterans. What a group of humble, classy guys. There’s just something about that generation.

NYconservative on August 8, 2012 at 3:39 PM

I wish I could attend this screening. My late father is a WWII veteran, and my mom sent a lot of money to help build the memorial. Among many thousands of others there, my dad is a listed honoree at the memorial.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thank you, Tom Hanks, for being such a big motivator to have the Memorial built.

Thank you, Greatest Generation–every soldier in the field and every Rosie the Riveter–for keeping us free.

Liam on August 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

No offense, screw Tom Hanks…..

my Grandpa did not fight the Japanese because he was a bigot, he fought because of a party favor they sent to Hawaii in 1941

harlekwin15 on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I’ve been watching re-runs of Ken Burns’ “The War” this week. So moving and so inspirational what the WWII generation endured and accomplished for freedom.

Thank you.

Trafalgar on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

They saved the world and they didn’t brag about it.

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

They saved the world and they didn’t brag about it.

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Those that made it home just wanted to get back to work, and so they acted as the little engine that good at one point having 62% of the world’s industrial capacity humming….

they are without a doubt the giants whose shoulders we’ve stood upon the last 6 decades…..

harlekwin15 on August 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

I walked through Arlington alone on a crisp, Sunday morning in autumn and it is an experience that will stay with me as long as I live.

And G-d bless all of those great guys and gals who saved the world. At least for a good 50 years or so.

Rixon on August 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

And G-d bless all of those great guys and gals who saved the world. At least for a good 50 years or so.

Rixon on August 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Bad syntax. The implication is that they saved the world at least up to this point, not that they should be blessed for only 50 years.

Eternity is not enough time to show our gratitude. We need a generation like them right now, and sadly, right here.

Rixon on August 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM

harlekwin15 on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

No offense taken, I assure.

Hanks was a driving force for the memorial, as I recall, after doing Saving Private Ryan. I know he’s a typical Hollywood liberal and all, but I can’t steal from him what he did to help push for the memorial finally being built. The idea had been kicking around for years, but few seemed to be pushing hard for it.

My dad was in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He joined the National Guard in 1940 because he was promised, “You’ll never go overseas.” Two years later, he was on a ship heading to invade North Africa.

My Dad’s description of all that was one of his favorite stories, and he told it with a lot of humor.

Liam on August 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

They saved the world and they didn’t brag about it.

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I don’t recall Eisenhower patting himself on the back continually and acting as if he were the one who climbed Pont du Hoc.

Guess he just didn’t have his campaign team assembled yet.

NoDonkey on August 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

..sure is tough typing when the tears begin to well up.

God bless these men and women!

The War Planner on August 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I don’t recall Eisenhower patting himself on the back continually and acting as if he were the one who climbed Pont du Hoc.

Guess he just didn’t have his campaign team assembled yet.

NoDonkey on August 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

..an honorable and courageous man with an awesome burden and supreme commander. The night before, he drafted a letter accepting SOLE responsibility for this mission if it turned out to be a failure.

Good thing we have a POTUS who still does that.

///////////

The War Planner on August 8, 2012 at 3:59 PM

and supreme commander = as supreme commander.

The War Planner on August 8, 2012 at 3:59 PM

The crew of Sally Ann

DarkCurrent on August 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

*salutes*

Yakko77 on August 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

My wife’s Uncle was one of the lucky ones to be flown to and from Washington DC to see the WWII Memorial – among many other sights. We – his extended family, were honored to be present when he came back into Chicago Midway Airport.

To see and hear the entire concourse filled with families and strangers honoring these, the last of the “Greatest Generation” left me without words. I have never shaken so many hands in such a short time! What an honor! How amazing!

Our Uncle told me after the flight that he’d returned to his hometown without fanfare – hitchhiking the last 36 miles from the nearest buss station to save a little money. His family only learned of his homecoming when he knocked at the back door. No parades for him until now.

We can’t make it up to Milwaukee’s Miller Park, but I urge everyone who can to do so.

CiLH1 on August 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Pops, I wish you would have lived long enough to go see the memorial. You wouldn’t have gone unless you drove there, you were stubborn that way. You never flew again after being airlifted to a hospital with schrapnel through both legs in WWII. You said about flying, once was enough.

Miss you every day, Pops. I don’t know what all of this means, but I have the paperwork: 80th Division, 14th Armored Division, Medical Aidman, Victory Medal, American Theater Ribbon, European Agrican Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 2 Bronze Stars, Two Overseas Service Bars, Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart Medal Go#83 HQ 109 Evac Hosp 45. He came home on the Queen Mary (Cunard White Star). Most of the servicemen slept up on deck in their bed rolls.

To you who answered the call of your country and served in its Armed Forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy, I extend the heartfelt thanks of a grateful Nation. As one of the Nation’s finest, you undertook the most severe task one can be called upon to perform. Because you demonstrated the fortitude, resourcefulness and calm judgement necessary to carry out that task, we now look to you for leadership and example in furth exalting our country in peace. Harry Truman.

Fallon on August 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM

I’ve known quite a few WWII vets, like the friend who was a Captain over a group of ordnance mechanics on Tinian, at the time the Enola Gay and Bock’s Car took off from there to drop the A-bombs on Japan. He had a lot of interesting stories about life on Tinian.

Also, lots of my relatives served, mainly in the South Pacific. One cousin was in the Seabees, and his job was driving a bulldozer, burying dead Japanese soldiers.

Ward Cleaver on August 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Truly one of the finest generation of Americans. Yet the likes of Google can’t even bring themselves to honor them. I sometimes fear this nation has gone past the point of no return. When the nation called theses Vets and citizens stood up and answered the call. Today a vast majority will only stand up in order to put their hand out.

Regards

SPIFF1669 on August 8, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Fallon on August 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Beautiful. Dad died this year. Navy. Ultimately felt he did not do enough as we assured him he answered the call. Wonderful man.

DanMan on August 8, 2012 at 6:27 PM

No. Those islands are not forgotten. The memory dims and the surf changes the shoreline.

The islands will never be forgotten. Trashed, by electing Democrats perhaps, but never forgotten.

Thank you, sir.

98ZJUSMC on August 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

My family just happened to be at Midway airport when one of the flights arrived with the WWII vets coming back from seeing the Memorial. It was amazing to see hundreds of people just stop and clap for every single vet that came off the plane. The vets were all from Iowa.

DanvilleMom on August 8, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Just about to foward the link to my father in law….Was 18 in WWII and a Navy vet…my mom in law was a 2nd LT in the Army med corp, but passed away at 90 2 yrs ago….

My dad was USMC (Vietnam) and grandad was also Army strong!

God Bless them All.

Semper Fidelis.

BlaxPac on August 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM

..sure is tough typing when the tears begin to well up.

God bless these men and women!

The War Planner on August 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

It was tough getting through the trailer. It would be impossible to sit through a full length movie. I just could not do it.

I was around lots of WWII veterans from an early age. The father of a friend of mine that I hung out with constantly was a WWII Navy veteran and both he and his wife were very active in the VFW, as were every WWII veteran in the community. I became a Lifetime member of the VFW in his honor when I returned from the Gulf.

Every year we would sell poppies, enjoy every parade, etc.

…then eventually be back at the VFW hall where they would give us soda while they had a few beers before everybody went home.

91Veteran on August 8, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Our Uncle told me after the flight that he’d returned to his hometown without fanfare – hitchhiking the last 36 miles from the nearest buss station to save a little money. His family only learned of his homecoming when he knocked at the back door. No parades for him until now.

We can’t make it up to Milwaukee’s Miller Park, but I urge everyone who can to do so.

CiLH1 on August 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM

One of the veterans I mentioned being active in the VFW above was on the Bataan Death March and was a POW for some time. He hitchhiked for several days, then walked the last several miles home. No parades either, and had a tough time for many years.

91Veteran on August 8, 2012 at 10:38 PM