This isn’t my normal post but I still wanted to share with you. You guys — who read this blog — know my life is way more than just about running. Sometimes I gotta steer another direction when I’m thinking about it.

Last week, at the U.S. Capitol, I got the chance to view the new documentary film, “Honor Flight.” The film was written, directed and produced by two guys I actually know in real life, through their company, FreeThink Media.

“Honor Flight” is a film about an organization, “The Honor Flight Network,” that flies WWII veterans to see their Memorial in Washington, D.C. free of charge. I was privileged to participate in an Honor Flight a few years back. Here I am interviewing one of the veterans from Indiana:

A team of dedicated volunteers flies with the group to assist with transportation. Often, when the veterans deplane at the airport, a crowd awaits them, standing and clapping for them to demonstrate years of previously silent appreciation.

I wrote about the film twice, here and here, on the Foundry. It was a privilege to do so. But that was before I even saw the whole thing! It was as wonderfully touching as I imagined. I cried more than I’ve ever cried in any movie, that’s for sure. It was FULL of so much — not only the honor and sacrifice of these men and women — but also the stark reality of life being almost over. This wasn’t just about their time in the service — it was also about their love stories, their children, their truth. Check out the trailer:

Before the film, we gathered around a podium to hear from a bipartisan panel of Members of Congress, including former VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan. Let me tell you, it was refreshing to stand among Republicans and Democrats actually agreeing on something!

Rep. Paul Ryan speaks before the film.

To honor World War II Veterans as they enter the last stages of life is an endearing experience. As the film says, about 900 WWII veterans die around this country daily. There is an urgency to get them to DC and see what is theirs.

You might think — it’s just a memorial. But…to them, it’s something greater. It’s representative of their whole lives! The Honor Flight Network makes this so incredibly special — bringing friends and family into the mix. This is the veteran’s day, maybe the first and probably the last day JUST for them in years. On the way back home after such a long day in DC, the veterans receive a package of letters from friends & family telling them thank you and how much their sacrifice means to them.

A few of the people in the film were actually at this showing with us! Here’s a pic I took:

Then, they land back home to an airport full of volunteers, creating a pathway, clapping, cheering, waving American flags, giving these men and women the HONOR that they have deserved for 60 years!

To be sure, there are some characters in this film and you learn to love them in just an hour and a half. There are some beautiful love stories and you also wonder how all this time could have gone by without a Memorial until a few years ago.

My Mom has participated in two Honor Flights to DC, where I was privileged to spend time with some of the WWII veterans from Indiana. If you want to learn something, if you want to appreciate something, if you want to be inspired — do this. There are Honor Flight networks around the country, find if there’s one near you.

If nothing else, watch this film. It’s int he running to be nominated for an Academy Award, and even though it’s a long shot, I’m sending hope that way. 

The thing about World War II is — we’re all connected to it. Everyone’s father or grandfather or grandmother was a part of it. The “Greatest Generation” won’t be around for much longer and it’s extremely sad. The world is different today and we’re going to lose so much when they are gone. That’s why it was SO important to make this movie — to capture these stories and never forget them.

Thanks Clay and Dan for putting your hearts in it:

Thanks for reading 🙂

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