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Film is a tearjerker for area military

More than 200 current and former members of the military, and their families, packed the Paragon theater at Spotsylvania Towne Centre Saturday for a showing of “Honor Flight.”

Tanner Poitras, 14, and his dad had seen the film with several other Boy Scouts at its Washington, D.C., première on Dec. 7 and wanted to bring it to Fredericksburg.

The film is about a Midwest chapter of an organization called Honor Flight that flies veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial.

The film was not originally going to be shown in Fredericksburg, but Poitras inquired about what it would take to bring the film here. He was told that if he could show there was local demand for it, it could happen. So Poitras and a few other Boy Scouts got to work drumming up support.

They selected Feb. 23 to show the film because it marked the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, in which the Marines planted the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Suribachi.

Before the show, veterans and active-duty soldiers were honored as the CHICORI Battalion JROTC from Chancellor, Courtland and Riverbend high schools in Spotsylvania, presented the colors.

After the film, Poitras and the other Boy Scouts thanked everyone for coming and several veterans shook their hands and told them how much they appreciated them bringing the movie to Fredericksburg. “We had a really great turnout, so I’m really proud of it” Poitras said after the film.

Charles Oakey, a World War II veteran who fought in the Pacific, said the film was a tearjerker.

“I was glad to see the young people here,” he said. “If you don’t know where you came from, how do you know where you are going?” he said.  Also watching the film was retired Air Force pilots Annette Dieters and her husband who took their kids along. “They teach history in school, but it’s not the same,” she said. 

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413