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Scouts to honor area WWII veterans

By RUSTY DENNEN

On Pearl Harbor Day in December, Tanner Poitras and Jake Phillips were among a group of local Boy Scouts attending the premiere of “Honor Flight” in Washington, D.C.

The documentary film tells the story of a Midwest community that bands together to honor four World War II veterans one last time by sending them to the nation’s capital to visit the World War II Memorial.

By the time they got back home, Tanner and Jake decided they wanted to honor local veterans by arranging a showing of the film here. Tanner, 14, is a freshman at Riverbend High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 835; Jake, 14, is an eighth-grader at Freedom Middle School and a member of Troop 14.

“It was really cool,” Tanner said of the film. Meeting some of the veterans, he added, “We heard some great stories.”

In a letter to The Free Lance–Star this week, the two Scouts wrote: “With our nation losing more than 900 WWII veterans every day, there are fewer opportunities to honor and recognize these heroes from ‘The Greatest Generation.’ ”

“This film was not originally scheduled to play in Fredericksburg, but we learned that we could arrange for it to be shown, as long as there was enough demand for it locally.”

With help from Tanner’s father, Don Poitras, the boys contacted Paragon Village 12 Theaters, behind Spotsylvania Towne Centre, which agreed to a special screening in one of its largest theaters at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.

That’s the 68th anniversary of the Marines’ planting of the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

“We truly hope this event sells out, but it is the only planned showing,” the letter says. “We expect to have a number of Korean War and World War II veterans present as our special guests.”

The scouts want to cover the ticket price for as many veterans as they can. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased only in advance, and are not available the day of the showing.

“We’ve gotten very good feedback” so far, Tanner said, along with a lot of offers to help out.

Both Tanner and Jake have relatives in the military. Don Poitras served in the Air Force Reserve.

“My grandpa and great uncles served in World War II,” Jake said. They never got to see the World War II Memorial. “I think it’s great that [other] World War II veterans get to see it.”

Area residents can buy a movie ticket, or sponsor one for a veteran by going online to: tugg.com/events/2904.

According to the website, on Friday, about 137 tickets had been purchased and fewer than 100 were left. For more information, contact Tanner Poitras by email at: tanner0616@yahoo.com.

Some WWII veterans are in town this weekend for events at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico. The gathering marks the anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific. Also, a symposium is set for today at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431

rdennen@freelancestar.com

 

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